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Smoke-free legislation

Nearly all public places and workplaces are smoke-free due to the Health Act 2006.

The primary aim of the legislation is to protect workers and the general public from exposure to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. 

Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed or 'substantially enclosed' public places and workplaces. It is an offence to:

  • smoke in smoke-free premises
  • permit others to smoke in smoke-free premises.

This includes:

  • places the public has access to, such as pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes
  • places being used wholly or mainly as a place of work, including voluntary work
  • places being used wholly or mainly for providing education, health or care services
  • vehicles used for public transport, such as buses, trains and taxis.

There are exemptions for the following.

  • Premises which are used as a full time place of residence for extended periods, for example private dwellings, residential premises and adult care homes.
  • Designated rooms in hotels, hostels and bed and breakfast accommodation. These are places where people live even though they are not private homes.
  • In places where smoking cannot take place outside for safety or health reasons, designated smoking rooms/areas may be allowed. Such exempted places include prisons and oil rigs.

We investigate complaints and can take formal action when appropriate.


If you break the law you could be fined for the following.

  • Smoking in a smoke-free place could lead to a fine of £200, with a fixed penalty option of £50.
  • Failure to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place could lead to a fine of £2,500.

Giving up smoking

If you are trying to give up smoking, the NHS smokefree website provides a wide range of easily accessible smoking cessation services.

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