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England is smoke free

All enclosed public places, work places, public and work vehicles are required to be smokefree. The Health Act 2006 made it an offence for people to smoke within enclosed public places to protect the public from the harmful effects of second hand smoke.

People that manage these premises and vehicles have a legal duty to prevent smoking, and to ensure that no-smoking signs are displayed.

What is meant by smoking?

The law forbids smoking anything, including tobacco, such as:

This includes being in possession of lit tobacco or any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked.


The table below lists the three offences, who is responsible, fixed penalty amounts and the maximum penalty upon summary conviction. Fixed penalties must be paid within 28 days but if paid in 15 days, a reduced amount applies.

Offence Who is Responsible Fixed Penalty Reduced Fixed Penalty Maximum Penalty
Smoking in a smokefree place. Anyone who smokes in a smokefree place £50 £30 £200
Failure to display no-smoking signs. Anyone who manages or occupies the smokefree premises or vehicle £200 £150 £1,000
Failing to prevent smoking in a smokefree place. (Dealt with by the Magistrates Court) Anyone who manages or controls the smokefree premises or vehicle None None £2,500


Very few premises are exempt from the requirement to be smokefree.

Exemptions include:

No-Smoking SignSmokefree signs

All smokefree premises and vehicles are required to display no-smoking signs. The signs must meet the following requirements:

A smaller sign consisting of just the international no-smoking symbol may be displayed at entrances used by staff only, providing the main entrance has the larger sign.

Smoking shelters

There is no requirement for managers to provide a smoking shelter. If you are considering having a smoking shelter, you should ensure that it is constructed so that it is not enclosed or substantially enclosed, otherwise it will still need to be smokefree. You may also need planning permission and building control approval and should contact the planning team.

Careful consideration should be taken in respects to potential noise and odour pollution from the use of a smoking shelter; enforcement action under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 can still be taken irrespective of any planning permission awarded by the Local Authority.

Working from home

In general, the law does not apply to private dwellings. However, if part of a dwelling is used solely for work purposes, by at least one person that does not live at the dwelling, or members of the public enter that part then it is required to be smokefree. Communal stairwells, lifts in blocks of flats and public areas in residential accommodation must also be smokefree.

Smokefree vehicles

All forms of public transport are required to be smokefree. Work vehicles are required to be smokefree if they are used for paid for or voluntary work by more than one person, regardless of whether they are in the vehicle at the same time. Vehicles used primarily for private purposes are not required to be smokefree.


Our Environmental Response Team is responsible for enforcing this section of The Health Act 2006. In response to complaints, an Officer will discuss the complaint with the complainant and investigate accordingly. Enforcement Policy procedure will be followed for a decision to be made and taken in relation to the alleged offence. 

Commercial premises are routinely inspected by the Environmental Commercial Team and the Licensing Department as part of workplace health and safety, food hygiene inspections and routine licensing inspections. If any premises are found to be in breach of The Health Act 2006, this will be reported to the appropriate enforcement team.

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