From 1 July 2007 virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England have become smokefree.
A smokefree England will ensure a healthier environment, so everyone can socialise, relax, travel, shop and work free from secondhand smoke.
Below are some answers to some frequently asked questions about the new legislation.
06:00am on the 1 July 2007
The new law will protect all people in virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces, including many work vehicles, from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke kills. The Government's independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health concluded in 2004 that exposure to secondhand smoke contributes to a range of serious medical conditions, including:
In 2006, the US Surgeon General concluded that:
The World Health Organisation has classified secondhand smoke as a known human carcinogen. The US Environmental Protection Agency classified secondhand smoke as a "class A" human carcinogen along with asbestos, arsenic, benzene and radon.
No. Virtually all enclosed workplaces and public places, including offices, factories, restaurants, pubs, schools, public transport, membership clubs and shopping malls are covered by smokefree legislation, meaning the enclosed parts of these places became completely smokefree following the implementation of the legislation on 1 July 2007.
There are limited exemptions from smokefree legislation which are set out in the proposed Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations.
The legislation covers all premises, which are wholly or substantially enclosed, and used as a place of work by more than one person. Smoking rooms are no longer allowed.
Essentially it ensures that almost all workers, regardless of their place of work, will be protected from the risks to health of exposure to tobacco smoke and guaranteed the right to smoke-free air.
Premises are considered substantially enclosed if they have a ceiling or roof, and the openings in the walls are less than half the total area of the walls. A roof includes any fixed or moveable structure or device, e.g. retractable canvas awning, capable of covering all or part of the premises. Smoking is allowed in shelters which are not substantially enclosed.
Employers, owners and managers must ensure their premises are smokefree. Proposed actions include putting up 'no smoking' signs which meet the following minimum standards:
Vehicles used at a workplace by more than one person, regardless of whether they are in the vehicle at the same time, are also required to be smoke-free at all times. This is because tobacco smoke is absorbed into soft furnishings and stays around for weeks long after a cigarette has been stubbed out. All vehicles need to display 'no-smoking' signs.
Exemptions are proposed in certain establishments where people live and which are also workplaces, eg prison cells, hospices and long stay residential homes. However, this does not mean that smoking is allowed throughout the premises. Instead, in premises with exemptions, employers have to identify 'designated smoking rooms' which meet the following specifications:
It is up to the management of individual buildings to decide if visitors will be allowed to access smoking rooms. The exemption exists for residents only and therefore and should not be used by staff. There is no obligation for employers of exempt places to have 'smoking rooms' if they do not wish to do so.
Theatres - the audience are not expempt from this legislation, but where for artistic reasons it is necessary for an actor to portray a character who smokes then there is an exemption, the council however should be notified of the production. The link to this notification is given below. when completed please return to -- Carol.Gilbert@rbk.kingston.gov.uk
There is no legal requirement for employers to provide designated external smoking areas, e.g. smoking shelters.
Each local authority has identified enforcement officers, e.g. environmental health officers, who are authorised to issue the following penalties. The final penalty amount will be decided by a Court rather than the local authority:
Call 0800 085 2903 for free advice, information and support on stopping smoking. The service covers one to one or group support and offers advice and tips for beating cravings and weight gain. Specialist help is also available for pregnant smokers, under-age smokers, parents of children under 5 years and cardiac rehabilitation patients.
Businesses wishing to request further information about the Government’s smokefree legislation can now call a freephone helpline. The Smokefree England Information Line was launched to enable companies to register for guidance and support. Over time, businesses will be able to order resources such as posters, brochures, signage and guidance material via this route. The telephone number is 0800 169 1697 and is available from 8am-6pm Monday to Friday
Further information on smoking policies and how to go smoke free can be found at:
An 0800 phone-line will be created to support local authorities in their compliance work and further details will be made public in due course.