Smoke free legislation

How to follow non-smoking laws in public places.

What the smoke free legislation means

On 1 July 2007, virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England became smokefree by law.

The change, which was introduced via the Health Act 2006, is intended to protect people from the effects of second hand smoke.

Smoking is prohibited in ‘enclosed’ and ‘substantially enclosed’ parts of virtually all public places and workplaces. This includes shops, offices, factories, restaurants, pubs, bars and membership clubs.

Smoking is also prohibited in vehicles used for public transport and work vehicles used by more than one person.

Exemptions are limited and relate primarily to private dwellings, designated bedrooms in hotels and specified areas of other residential accommodation, such as prisons and care homes.

Smoking is permitted in shelters and outdoor areas that are not enclosed or substantially enclosed.

What businesses and employers need to do

Employers, managers and those in charge of smoke free premises and vehicles are required to:

  • display the prescribed ‘no smoking’ signs.
  • take reasonable steps to ensure that no-one smokes in smoke free premises.

Outdoor areas and smoking shelters - things to consider

The law does not require outdoor smoking areas or shelters to be provided. However, if you wish to do so, consider the following:

  • ensure that shelters or outdoor areas are not ‘enclosed’ or ‘substantially enclosed’- check with us if you are uncertain
  • check whether planning consent is required for your shelter and that the use of the outdoor area is covered by the existing planning permission. Contact the Planning Team for advice
  • if your premises are licensed under the Licensing Act 2003, check whether there are conditions affecting use of outdoor areas. For example, there may be restrictions on times when beer gardens can be used or conditions relating to last entry or re-entry to the premises
  • consider the potential noise impact caused by people congregating outside to smoke, particularly if the premises are open late at night or early morning.Download our guidance on managing noise from smoking areas [PDF 33KB] or contact the Environmental Protection Team on 01273 294 490 or for advice
  • take steps to minimise litter problems caused by cigarette ends. Cityclean, the council's in-house street cleansing service, have issued advice on controlling smoking related litter, which includes information on businesses' legal responsibilities and practical solutions

How the law will be enforced

Within Brighton & Hove, the city council's Health and Safety and Licensing Team are responsible for enforcing the legislation, which contains the following offences:

  • smoking in a smoke free place
  • failure to display correct no-smoking signs
  • failure by a manager of a smoke free place to prevent a person there from smoking

Where to get further information

Visit the Smokefree England website (please note this site was archived in Febuary 2011) for information, guidance, links to the regulations, frequently asked questions and free signs.

or contact the Health and Safety Team:

Where to get help to stop smoking

The local NHS Stop Smoking Service currently offers free stop smoking courses for businesses and their employees. Courses run for one hour a week for 6 weeks, at a time and venue to suit you.

For further information call 01273 267 397 or send an email to