By now everyone is aware of the smoking regulations that prohibite smoking in public places, and most are people are probably aware that smoking is also not allowed on public transport, and most are also aware that smoking at work is against the law too, but what exactly consitutes a “workplace” and what are the penalties for getting caught smoking there?

A workplace needn’t be an office or a building, for instance if you are a taxi firm, then your cars (even if they belong to your drivers) are classed as a workplace and must display a no smoking sign and aren’t smoked in, this also applies to delivery vehicles, or any vehicle used for business (ie corporate event vehicles).

The old idea of a “staff smoking room” is also now no longer allowed, employers and employees must go outside to smoke. If a shelter is provided, then it must be an open shelter, not “substationally enclosed” to be legal, for example a back wall and supported roof, but no “sides” on it.

There are certain exemptions to this legislation, mainly concerning Care Homes, Hospices and Prisons, where smoking in designated rooms is allowed. These rooms have to be designated for use for persons over the age of 18 and comply to certain standards as stated below:

Taken from the “smoking in public place:the ban in force :

“In this regulation “designated room” means a bedroom or a room used only for
smoking which—

  • (a) has been designated in writing by the person having charge of the premises
  • in which the room is situated as being a room in which smoking is permitted;
  • (b) has a ceiling and, except for doors and windows, is completely enclosed on all sides by solid, floor-to-ceiling walls;
  • (c) does not have a ventilation system that ventilates into any other part of the premises (except any other designated rooms);
  • (d) is clearly marked as a room in which smoking is permitted; and
  • (e) except where the room is in a prison, does not have any door that opens
    onto smoke-free premises which is not mechanically closed immediately after
    use. “

The regulations also apply to private members clubs, for instance the Masons. However at this time the no smoking regulations do not include the use of e-cigerettes in these places.

The Penalties:

Workers can be fined up to £200 (£50 in Scotland) for breaking these regulations, but the penalties for the businesses are far steeper with fines and penalties of up to £2,500 if they don’t stop people smoking in their workplace, and up to £1000 if they don’t display “no smoking” signs in a clear and prominant position. Businesses in Wales can also incur the fine if their “no smoking” signs aren’t bi-lingual.