Smoking in enclosed places

The Health Act 2006 made it an offence for people to smoke within enclosed public places in order to protect the public from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

The law forbids smoking anything, including tobacco, such as:

  • manufactured cigarettes
  • hand-rolled cigarettes
  • pipes and cigars
  • herbal cigarettes
  • water/shisha pipes
  • hookah

This includes being in possession of lit tobacco or any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked.

Remember, you have a duty to ensure smoking does not take place in any enclosed public place or work place (even work vehicles).

As a premises owner you must not smoke in your enclosed premises, or allow others to do so, and you must display at least one “no smoking” sign. It is up to you where it is displayed and what it looks like.

You can be given a fixed penalty of up to £150 or be fined up to £1000 for not displaying signs.

Building structures for smoking

Where smoking is not allowed:

  • in a workplace or
  • a place open to members of the public and that is enclosed or substantially enclosed.

What are enclosed premises?

An enclosed premises:

  • has a ceiling or roof (including any fixed or movable structures such as awnings) and except for doors, windows or passageways are wholly enclosed on a permanent or temporary basis
  • has a ceiling or roof (including any fixed or movable structure such as awnings)
  • has permanent openings in the walls which are less than half of the total areas of walls, including other structures which serve the purpose of walls and constitute the perimeter of the premise

If 50% or more of the walls are missing it is legal to smoke or if more than 50% of the walls are present it is illegal to smoke. This is known as the 50% rule

When looking at the area of an opening you do not take into account doors, windows or other fittings that can be open or shut.  If an opening or cover can be closed, the 50% rule is used on the basis that the openings are closed.

Tents, marquees and similar structures are also classified as enclosed premises if they fall within the definition and tent panels will always be counted as being rolled down).

Remember that smoking shelters may also need planning permission from the Council – contact our planning team for more information. 

Smoking areas on the highway may need a pavement licence. Please contact either our technical services or our licensing team for more information.

Planning and Building Control

Please use the details below for all enquiries regarding planning consent and building control, including any change of use or change to the outside appearance.

Address: Harrow Council
Planning and Building Control
PO Box 1358

Telephone: 020 8901 2650

Commercial and Licensing team

Address: Harrow Council
Commercial and Licensing Team
PO Box 1358