Smokefree

Smokefree

This page give you information regarding the councils policies on smokefree legislation.

Smokefree

Here you will find information regarding smoke-free legislation and the council's policies in relation to smoking laws.

The Health Act 2006 saw the introduction of smoke-free legislation in England, meaning virtually all public places and workplaces are now smoke free. The aim is for all workers, regardless of their place of work, to be protected from the health risks of exposure to tobacco smoke.
 
Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed or 'substantially enclosed' public places and workplaces by making it an offence to:

  • smoke in smoke-free premises
  • permit others to smoke in smoke-free premises
 Smoke-free legislation affects all premises which:
  • the public has access to: e.g. pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes, etc
  • are being used wholly or mainly as a place of work, including voluntary work
  • are being used wholly or mainly for providing education, health or care services
  • are vehicles used for public transport e.g. buses, trains and taxis
If you are trying to give up smoking, the NHS provides a wide range of excellent and easily-accessible smoking cessation services.

Smokefree exemptions
There are exemptions for premises which are used as a full-time place of residence for extended periods e.g. private dwellings, residential premises and adult care homes.

Designated rooms in hotels, hostels and bed and breakfast accommodation are exempt, since they are places where people live even though they are not private homes.

Where smoking cannot take place outside for safety or health reasons, then designated smoking rooms or areas may be allowed.
Penalties for smoking in smoke-free places
  • 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.
  • Failure to display minimum no smoking signs can be up to £1,000 or a fixed penalty notice of £200.
We will investigate complaints we receive and may take formal action when appropriate. Employers, owners and managers of businesses must ensure their premises are smoke-free and have at least one no smoking sign.
Frequently asked questions about smoke-free
Which workplaces are covered by the legislation?
The legislation covers premises used as a place of work by more than one person, which are wholly or substantially enclosed.

‘Substantially enclosed’ is where there is a ceiling or roof, and the openings in the walls are less than half the total area of the walls.

Roofs and walls include any fixed or moveable structure or device, e.g. retractable canvas awning capable of covering all or part of the premises. Smoking will be allowed in shelters which are not substantially enclosed. What about vehicles?
Vehicles used at a workplace by more than one person, regardless if they are not in the vehicle at the same time, will also have to be smoke-free at all times.

Tobacco smoke is absorbed into soft furnishings and stays around long after a cigarette has been stubbed out. All work vehicles will need to display at least one legible no-smoking sign within.
 
Are employers required to provide smoking breaks and external smoking areas?
By law, employers must give staff an uninterrupted rest break of 20 minutes if their daily working time is more than six hours. Staff must not smoke in an enclosed or partially enclosed area.

Employers must decide whether or not to permit smoking elsewhere on the premises, e.g. in grounds or shelters, and should indicate where smoking is allowed in their smoking policy.

There is no legal requirement for employers to provide designated external smoking areas.
 
What about entrances to buildings?
Outside areas are not covered by the legislation. However, employers may consider including in their policy that smoking is not permitted within a certain distance of entrances, so staff and visitors do not have to walk through smoke to get into the building.
Stop smoking services
The NHS offers a wide range of free and easily accessible support for smokers including:
Contact us

Advice on smoking shelters

Here you will find advice for businesses on erecting smoking shelters.

If you are a business considering erecting a smoking shelter for customers or staff, you need to be very careful that it meets planning and Smokefree legislation guidelines.
 
The information below might help you make the right choices, although it should not be relied upon as a definitive interpretation of the law.

Before making any final decision on a shelter, you should seek independent advice from your own legal adviser.

What counts as a smoking shelter?
Smoking shelters must: 
  • be less than ‘substantially enclosed’. They must be at least 50% open, not including windows and doors.
  • be situated more than 1.5 metres from nearby walls or existing structures
  • not be situated in such a way that allows secondhand smoke to drift into smoke-free premises
Planning permission for a smoking shelter
It is likely you will need planning permission before building a smoking shelter – even if it is a temporary structure. If your building is listed, you may also need additional consent.
 
You are therefore advised to contact our planning department at Northumberland County Council in writing, and include details and a sketch of where you propose to site your shelter, prior to submitting a planning application.
 
You may also need to get building control consent before you start work on your smoking shelter. You should therefore contact our building control services.
Other considerations
Litter
The use of outdoor areas or smoking shelters may result in increased littering. You should therefore:
  • provide external bins, ashtrays or stubbing bins for cigarette ends and empty them regularly
  • sweep up any cigarette ends and other litter regularly
  • make your staff aware it is illegal to drop litter and ask them to use the bins provided
Noise
Commercial premises, particularly those open early in the morning or late at night, will need to consider the potential noise impact on nearby properties from patrons or employees congregating outside to smoke.
 
Health and safety
You should also consider the health and safety implications of the use of outdoor areas and smoking shelters including:
  • ensuring there is safe access and exit to and from your smoking shelter/outdoor area
  • ensuring you have agreed fire arrangements covering use of the smoking shelter or outdoor area.
Further information on Smokefree legislation and the use of smoking shelters can be obtained from the public protection service. 
Contact us