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Research indicates high levels of awareness of smokefree law

A public omnibus survey conducted by ICM Research for DH in April 2007 shows that 93 per cent of the adult population are now aware that smokefree legislation is coming (up from 89 per cent in February). The survey of 1700 adults also revealed high levels of awareness of the date that the law will come into effect, with 55 per cent unprompted awareness of the July 1st date (up from 33 per cent in February).

Further research conducted by Continental Research for DH in April/May 2007 shows that 89 per cent of businesses in England are now aware that smokefree legislation is coming (up from 77 per cent in February) with 68 per cent unprompted awareness of the July 1st date (up from 44 per cent in February). Nine out of ten businesses think that they are prepared for the new smokefree law (vs 70% in February) and 88 per cent of businesses say there is nothing about the legislation they feel 'confused or worried about'. This rose to 91 per cent among pubs.

Where we have come from


March 2007: Government publishes official guide to smokefree law

From 1 July 2007, virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England will become smokefree. A smokefree England will ensure a healthier environment, so everyone can socialise, relax, travel, shop and work free from secondhand smoke.

In April, employing businesses that are actively trading and registered with Companies House will be sent the official Government guide to the new law by post. This guidance pack will include 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 and a range of other supporting materials can be downloaded or ordered from the resources section on this website.
Download guidance, signage and other resources

March 2007: Final regulations documents published

Smokefree legislation is set out in Part 1 of the Health Act that was passed by Parliament in 2006. The Act sets out the broad provisions for smokefree legislation, and also provides a number of legal powers to enable the more detailed aspects of smokefree legislation to be dealt with in smokefree regulations. Five sets of regulations set out the detail of smokefree legislation.
Read regulations

December 2006: July 1st implementation date announced

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced that the smokefree law would be introduced on July 1st 2007 and the launch of the Smokefree England campaign to help the country's 3.7 million businesses prepare for the implementation of the legislation. The Department of Health also published a report on responses received to the Department of Health?s consultation document and the first set of regulations covering premises and enforcement, which were laid before Parliament on 18th December 2006.
Report on smokefree regulations consultation (new window)

July 2006: The Government published proposed smokefree regulations

The Health Act 2006 provides a number of regulation-making powers. Smokefree regulations will provide specific detail about how smokefree legislation will be implemented, including the no-smoking signs that will be required and who will enforce the new laws. In July 2006, the Department of Health published Smokefree Premises and Vehicles: Consultation on proposed regulations to be made under powers in the Health Bill as a full 12-week public consultation.
Smokefree regulations consultation (pdf, 1MB)

June 2006: The Health Bill becomes law

After 9 months of consideration in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the Health Bill was passed by Parliament and received Royal Assent. This turned the the Health Bill with its smokefree provisions into law, meaning that the Health Bill officially become the Health Act 2006
Find out more (pdf, 165KB)

March 2006: Government publishes the response to Smoking in Public Places

In March 2006, the Government published its response to the House of Commons' Health Committee report Smoking in Public Places.
Smoking in Public Places report (pdf, 98KB)

February 2006: The House of Commons votes for smokefree legislation which covers all public and workplaces

On 14 February 2006, the House of Commons voted by a large majority to amend the Health Bill to ensure that smokefree legislation covered all licensed premises and membership clubs.

December 2005: Smoking in Public Places report published by the House of Commons

The House of Commons' Health Select Committee published its report Smoking in Public Places in December 2005, which considered the smokefree provisions in the Health Bill as it was initially introduced to Parliament by the Government.
Find out more (new window)

October 2005: The Health Bill is published

In October 2005, the Government published the Health Bill, which included smokefree provisions. In introducing the Health Bill, the Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt said "this package is a huge step forward for public health and will help reduce deaths from cancer, heart disease and other smoking related diseases."

June 2005: The Department of Health consults the public on proposals for smokefree legislation

In June 2005, after the Government's commitment to legislation for smokefree environments in the Choosing Health White Paper, the Department of Health published the Consultation on the smokefree elements of the Health Improvement and Protection Bill.

The Government undertook to consult widely on the process of drawing up the detailed legislation on smokefree public places. There were over 57,000 responses received during the 12-week public consultation including 50,500 from individuals and over 4,000 from people running licensed premises.
Find out more (new window)

WHO's 2004: The United Kingdom became a party to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Together with 141 other nations, the United Kingdom is a party to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) that came into force in February 2005. Parties to the FCTC recognise that "scientific evidence has unequivocally established that tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability."

The treaty obliges parties, including the United Kingdom, to "provide for protection from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport, indoor public places and, as appropriate, other places".

A full version of the FCTC, together with supporting information, is available on the web at:
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (new window)

2004: The Department of Health publishes the Choosing Health White Paper

In 2004, the Government published the Choosing Health White Paper, which set out the key principles for supporting the public to make healthier and more informed choices in regards to their health.

The Government set out its intention in Choosing Health to shift the balance significantly in favour of smokefree environments through legislation as a response to public support for reducing the health risks of secondhand smoke.
Find out more (new window)

2004: SCOTH publish further findings on the effect secondhand smoke has on health

In 2004, the Government's independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) published a second report that examines the impacts of secondhand smoke on health, titled Secondhand Smoke: Review of evidence since 1998.

In this report, SCOTH reviewed the evidence that had become available since the publication its 1998 report. The Committee concluded that the additional evidence reviewed further reinforced the conclusions made by SCOTH in 1998 about the health risks associated with exposure to secondhand smoke. Furthermore, SCOTH highlighted that new evidence since 1998 made associations between secondhand smoke and reduced lung function.
Find out more (new window)

2003: The Chief Medical Officer calls for smokefree public places and workplaces

In his 2003 Annual Report, the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, looked at the evidence of both the health and economic benefits of smokefree public places and workplaces.

The Chief Medical Officer concluded that there are compelling arguments in favour of making all enclosed public places and workplaces in this country smokefree: it will bring enormous benefits to health both directly by protecting people from airborne toxins and indirectly by reducing prevalence; the public want and have a basic right to work and relax in a healthy environment and, from a fiscal perspective, both the national economy and the hospitality industry will get a boost.
Find out more (new window)

1998: The health risks from secondhand smoke are confirmed by SCOTH

In 1998, the Government's independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) published the Report of the Scientific Committee that included a chapter on secondhand smoke.

After reviewing scientific evidence, SCOTH concluded in the report that:

- exposure to secondhand smoke is a cause of lung cancer and childhood respiratory disease, and

- there is evidence that exposure to secondhand smoke is a cause of heart disease and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), middle ear disease and asthma attacks in children.

Based on these findings, SCOTH recommended "restrictions on smoking in public places and work places are necessary to protect non-smokers".
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1998: The Government recognises that smokefree environments are 'ideal'

In 1998, the Government published the Smoking Kills White Paper that ensured the issue of smokefree public places and workplaces became part of public debate. In the White Paper, the Government recognised that "completely smokefree places are the ideal".
Find out more (new window)

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