What are the Consequences of Someone Smoking in a Smoke Free Area
It is against the law to smoke in a designated smoke free area and therefore there are penalties involved in breaking these legally binding rules. The manager / owner of an area (including vehicles) has the responsibility for taking reasonable steps as dictated by law to ensure the area remains smoke free. What these steps are may be found in Department of Health guidance.
Who Needs to Take Responsibility for Enforcing the Smoke Free Law
Local councils and where appropriate port health authorities are responsible for enforcing the legislation in their own area. The part of the legislation which specifies who is responsible for what area is the Smoke Free Premises and Enforcement Regulation. How the councils and enforcing authorities will approach enforcement will depend on a number of factors including working to support businesses and individuals so that they are aware of responsibilities and comply before having to look at penalties.
Penalties for breaking the law will be taken where the local authority feels the incident/s are or have been serious enough to warrant this.
Those looking for more information on enforcement and responsibilities should contact their local council for up to date information. Council contact information may be found via the search engine or on the Direct Gov website.
Will the Government Send Enforcement Officers to All Restricted Areas
The expectation is that the majority of workplaces and public places, as well as individual smokers will adhere to the smoke free law without the need for enforcement. Any areas such as working environments considered to be at a higher risk of non-compliance (such as bars and pubs which were commonly used by indoor smokers before the law was introduced) may be visited by environmental health officers.
Where a member of the public feels that the smoke free laws are not being followed they may contact the Smoke Free Compliance Line on 0800 5871667. The complaint will be logged and passed onto the local council for investigation.
What If an Employee Insists They Have the Right to Smoke at Work
ACAS (The Advice, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) have put together a useful Q&A document in order to answer this specific question and others like it. ACAS will also offer advice and support re workplace regulations on the phone as well as via the website.
What Involvement Will Police Have in Enforcement
The police will only get involved in Smoke Free legislation where there is public disorder or where there is threatening behaviour involved.
Penalties and Fines
What are the Penalty Costs
Set out in the Health Act 2006 the Smoke Free penalties are as follows:
• A fixed penalty notice of £50* for smoking in a smoke free designated vehicle or area or a court fine not exceeding £200 according to level 1 standard fine scales.
*This will be reduced to £30 if paid within 15 days of being issued.
• A fixed penalty notice of £200* or a court fine up to £1000 in accordance with maximum fine restrictions for failing to display the appropriate smoke free signage as dictated by law.
*Reduced to £150 if paid within 15 days of issue.
• Courts may impose fines of up to £2500 (therefore not exceeding the maximum fine level 4) where responsible parties fail to prevent smoking in a smoke free designated environment, including vehicles.
When Will Fixed Penalties Be Applied
Whether the penalties will be applied at the time of the offence or at a later date is at the discretion of the enforcement officer.
Shouldn’t Publicans Lose Their Licence if They Continue to Fail to Comply
The fines are expected to continue to be a strong enough deterrent for employers and premises owners to ensure they adhere to smoke free legislation. At present there is no part of the legislation which links a publican’s licence to penalties for not adhering to Smoke Free Law.
The Smoke Free Compliance Line
Who Should We Contact if We See a Smoke Free Law Violation
If anyone believes that the Smoke Free law is not being met they should inform the manager or a member of staff at the premises involved in order to ensure that it will be dealt with immediately. If the incident is not dealt with or individuals wish they may contact the Smoke Free Compliance Line (Freephone) 0800 587 1667. This complaint will be passed onto the relevant local council or port health authority for investigation.
Calls last approximately three minutes and incidents are reported to councils daily via email.
Are All Calls Reported to the Council
All calls, where enough information has been provided will be forwarded to local councils.
What Happens When False Reports are made
Councils are extremely experienced at handling complaints efficiently and thoroughly. A valid complaint will be dealt with as appropriate and similarly false claims will be looked at. Businesses who are a victim of false claims against them will be protected should they be able to prove that they are taking appropriate steps to meet the legislative regulations.
It is hoped that individuals would think carefully before making false allegations and wasting council time.
May Callers to the Compliance Remain Anonymous
Your details do not need to be logged in order for the complaint to be passed to local council should anyone wish to remain anonymous. It might be useful however when it comes to dealing with an issue for the council to be able to call / get in touch to clarify