In a free vote at the Commons Report Stage of the Health Bill on February 14, 2006, MPs voted 384 to 184 in favour of comprehensive legislation prohibiting smoking in enclosed public places. The Bill passed through the House of Lords and was given Royal Assent on July 19th, 2006 becoming the Health Act 2006. The Department of Health launched a consultation on the proposed regulations to be made under the powers of the Act, which ran from July 17th to October 9th, 2006. England became smokefree on July 1st, 2007.
The final five sets of regulations that set out the details of smokefree legislation were published in March 2007. The official Government guide to the new smokefree law is available to download or order from this website. In April, employing businesses that were actively trading and registered with Companies House were sent a full guidance pack by post. This pack contained a booklet explaining what businesses needed to do, examples of compliant signage for smokefree premises and vehicles, a sample smokefree policy and suggested steps to take if someone smokes in a smokefree place. Further signage can be downloaded or ordered from this website.
The Health Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on October 27th, 2005. Under Part 1 of this Bill the government proposed to prohibit smoking in all enclosed public places, with exemptions for private member’s clubs and licensed premises which do not serve or prepare food and residential premises (including prisons, long-stay care homes and hotel rooms). An amendment was tabled by the Health Select Committee on January 10th, 2006 to remove the exemptions for non-food pubs and private members clubs. MPs also voted on the option of voting for an exemption for private members clubs but not non-food pubs.
The Health Bill also provided the National Assembly for Wales with the power to introduce smokefree legislation in Wales.