Smoke Free Locations


What Do the Terms Enclosed and Substantially Enclosed Mean for Smokers

In the Health Act of 2006 clear explanations are made which show that any premises which are used as a workplace or public place must be smoke free. These enclosed or substantially enclosed structures include any places that are either permanent or temporary in nature, including tents, marquees and even canvas awnings.

Enclosed: Anywhere with a roof / ceiling will be considered enclosed, regardless of whether the structure is a permanent one or has been placed temporarily.

Substantially Enclosed: This term includes any structures which may have a roof or ceiling such as a gazebo yet includes an opening or gap which is less than the total area of the wall space. These openings do not include windows and doors. Examples might include some bus shelters.

Is the Smoke Free Law Mostly About Pubs and Clubs

This law covers all premises and vehicles such as public places, public transport, work premises and more. Anywhere considered enclosed or substantially enclosed (see above explanation) has been considered a smoke free area and therefore penalties to those smoking there will be issued.

The only exceptions to these regulations are set out in the Smoke Free Exemptions and Vehicle Regulations.

Do the Smoke Free Regulations Apply to Temporary Structures

Any temporary structures such as a marquee / gazebo, tent or indeed any enclosed or substantially enclosed structure is included in the Smoke Free law, regardless of how long the structure will be in place.

Are Vehicles and Premises Used For Voluntary Work Exempt

No, any work premises including vehicles, regardless of whether this is paid employment or voluntary work are classed as having to adhere to the Smoke Free legislation.

Couldn’t a Ventilated Smoking Area Be an Alternative to a Smoke Free Zone

Scientific evidence clearly shows that smoking in a ventilated area does not eliminate the proven risks to health associated with second hand smoke. The joint report between the Office of Tobacco Control (ROI) and the Health and Safety Authority published in 2003 provides more information on the research behind this issue. The paper is published under the title The Health Effects of Environmental Tobacco Smoke in the Workplace.

Will Outdoor Smoking Be Banned Altogether

While some have voiced concerns about whether or not outdoor areas such as the area outside pubs and clubs should or will be also made smoke free the government confirms that at this time they have no plans to include these areas in the ban. The Health Act of 2006 similarly has no power to restrict smokers in non-enclosed outdoor areas and unless a significant risk to health is identified this does not look likely to change.

May Smokers Be Made to Stay Away From a Building When Smoke Comes Through the Window

The legislation in place only governs enclosed or substantially enclosed places and so under the law smokers do not have to move away from the outside or a building. The manager or owner of a public place doe s however have certain responsibilities, particularly in a workplace situation and therefore a workplace policy may be put in place to protect a worker’s right to a smoke free environment as opposed to one under the Smoke Free law.


As a Business How Do I Put Together a Smoke Free Policy

It is important to ensure that all employees and visitors know and understand what the smoke free regulations are, especially in relation to your workplace and therefore the following should be considered when developing a workplace policy:

• All language should be jargon free and easy to understand.
• The reasons for the policy clear (i.e. the Smoke Free legislation as well as health reasons etc).
• An acknowledgement must be made relating to the rights that employees have to work in a smoke free environment.
• A clear definition of where employees may and may not smoke
• Ensure that it is clear that everyone is included in the policy, from temp staff to managing directors.
• Offering information on how to quit smoking.
• Show who is responsible for the enforcement of the policy and any penalties employees will face for non-compliance.
• Ensure that employees are offered the opportunity to consult on the new policy.
• Put into action plans to ensure that all existing staff read, sign and understand the policy and introduce the document to new employees as part of their induction.

Working with staff to put together a policy which includes where appropriate the input of everyone and ensures that health and safety as well as all legislation is adhered to will produce a well-written and easy to follow policy. This type of policy is most likely to be followed without any or with very few problems.

Could a Smoking Shelter Be Erected

Employers do not have to provide a sheltered area for staff to smoke and few will, considering the cost as well as the other implications surrounding congregating staff, rubbish, noise and more. Should an employer decide to provide such a shelter they will have to ensure that it doesn’t fall under the enclosed or substantially enclosed guidelines in order for it to be an area where people may smoke.

With many employers actively encouraging and supporting staff to give up smoking few shelters are now being built / erected. If an employer does decide to put one up he or she will need to consider council planning as well as adequate ways to manage littering, noise etc.

Is a Staff Smoking Room Still Allowed

No indoor smoking areas are allowed under the Smoke Free law. As above, employers may, if they wish offer to erect a smoking shelter outside however this must adhere to Smoke Free legislation with regards to whether or not it is classed as enclosed or substantially enclosed as well as any council / building regulations.

Is a Workplace That Became Smoke Free before the Ban Automatically Considered Compliant

While a workplace may have been smoke free before the law was introduced it is important that employers still check that they are following the requirements as set out in the legislation. This means that they must:

• Make sure that the appropriate signage is displayed clearly
• That employers / managers understand and are proactive about their responsibility to ensure that no-one smokes in what is considered an enclosed or substantially enclosed structure or vehicle
• That all steps considered reasonable (these are set out in the legislation guidelines) have been and continue to be met, including ensuring that everyone including visitors know, understand and adhere to the smoke free regulations at all times.

While becoming smoke free before it was essential to do so was a wise choice it is still important to ensure that the workplace is smoke free according the legal requirements in order to avoid financial penalties.

What Support is in Place for Businesses

Since 2007 any businesses registered with Companies House and actively trading have been sent via mail a guidance pack which details their responsibility, includes additional information such as signage info, example smoke free policies and offers support.

If any further information is needed regarding the business’ specific circumstances they may contact their local council for guidance.


Does My Home Need to Be Smoke Free Under the Law

The Smoke Free law does not apply to residential dwellings, only public areas / buildings, vehicles and workplaces.

If Working From Home Does My Home Need to Be Smoke Free

If a part of a home is used solely for business it would have to be smoke free when it is used as a place of work for more than one person who doesn’t live at the address, where one person does live at the address yet one who works there doesn’t and / or where anyone who doesn’t live at the property comes to collect goods or take part in an offered service.

To be absolutely sure whether this applies to individual circumstances it would be best to contact the local council for absolute clarification.

Sports Stadiums

Do Sports Stadiums Come Under the Smoke Free Legislation

Any part of the stadium which is considered to be a public place, which is enclosed or substantially enclosed will fall under the Smoke Free legislation and therefore smoking will be prohibited.

If visiting a stadium and unsure look for signage with guidance or ask staff if / where smoking is permitted if at all.