Smoking in enclosed places

The Health Act 2006 made it an offence for people to smoke within enclosed public places. It was introduced 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.

You are obliged to ensure smoking does not take place in any enclosed public place or work place. This includes work vehicles.

As a premises owner you must not smoke in your enclosed premises, or allow others to do so. 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 Notice of up to £150 or fined up to £1000 for not displaying signs.

What are enclosed premises?

An enclosed premises:

  • has a ceiling or roof (including any fixed or movable structures such as awnings). They are wholly enclosed on a permanent or temporary basis
  • has permanent openings in the walls which are less than half of the total areas of walls. The enclosed area adds to the perimeter of the premises.

The 50% rule

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 considering the opening, you do not take into account doors, windows or anything 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 classed as enclosed premises. Tent panels will always be counted as being rolled down.

You may need planning permission to construct smoking shelters. You can contact our Planning team for more information. 

Smoking areas on the highway may need a Pavement licence. You can contact our Licensing team for more information.