Introduction

England went Smokefree on 1 July 2007. This means that smoking any substance is no longer permitted in workplaces and public places that are ‘enclosed’ or ‘substantially enclosed’. This includes public transport or vehicles used for work by more than one person. A smokefree England will ensure a healthier environment, so everyone can socialise, relax, travel, shop and work free from secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke

There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals in the form of particles and gases – some of these chemicals are dangerous poisons. Secondhand smoke is bad for health – it is known to cause cancer as well as many other serious health problems. Just thirty minutes exposure is enough to reduce coronary blood flow.

What is covered under the Smokefree legislation

Nearly all enclosed workplaces and public places are smokefree. This means that it is an offence:

  • to smoke in a smokefree premises or vehicle
  • for those who control or manage a smokefree premises or vehicle to permit others to smoke in the premises or vehicle
  • for people who occupy or manage a smokefree premises or vehicle to not display the required no-smoking signs.

Necessary signs

At least one legible no-smoking sign must be displayed in smokefree premises and vehicles.

Enclosed or substantially enclosed premises

All enclosed and substantially enclosed public places and workplaces must be smokefree. This includes permanent and temporary structures such as tents or marquees.

Premises are enclosed if they have a ceiling or roof and are fully enclosed either on a temporary or permanent basis. This does not include doors, windows and passageways.

Premises are substantially enclosed if they have a ceiling or roof but have an opening in the walls which is less than half the total area of the walls. The area of the opening does not include doors or windows.

Smoking shelter provision

There is no requirement to provide a smoking shelter. If you are considering having a smoking shelter, you should make sure that it is constructed so that it is not enclosed or substantially enclosed. You may also need planning permission and building control approval.

Enforcement

Somerset Council are responsible for enforcing the smokefree law and have the power to enter all ‘no-smoking premises’ to check that the law is being complied with. We are also able to issue fixed penalty notices and maximum fines for each offence:

  • Smoking in smokefree premises or work vehicles: a fixed penalty notice of £50 (reduced to £30 if paid in 15 days) imposed on the person smoking. Or a maximum fine of £200 if prosecuted and convicted by a court
  • Failure to display no-smoking signs: a fixed penalty notice of £200 (reduced to £150 if paid in 15 days) imposed on whoever manages or occupies the smokefree premises or vehicle. Or a maximum fine of £1000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court
  • Failing to prevent smoking in a smokefree place: a maximum fine of £2500 imposed on whoever manages or controls the smokefree premises or vehicle if prosecuted and convicted by a court. There is no fixed penalty notice for this offence.

Contact environmental services

Somerset Council
Bridgwater House
King Square
Bridgwater
Somerset
TA6 3AR

Phone: 0300 303 7806
Email: environmentalhealth.sedgemoor@somerset.gov.uk

Last reviewed: July 28, 2023 by William

Next review due: January 28, 2024

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