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Smoking in public places

Published Friday, March 27, 2015

This note outlines the provisions of the smoking ban in England that came into effect on 1 July 2007 in a practical context. It also includes recent developments such as the introduction of new regulations in 2015 regarding smoking in private vehicles.

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This note outlines the provisions of the smoking ban in England that came into effect on 1 July 2007 in a practical context. It also includes recent developments such as the introduction of new regulations in 2015 regarding smoking in private vehicles.

New regulations brought a smoking ban into force in England at 6am on 1 July 2007. Almost all enclosed and substantially enclosed public places and workplaces are included, as are public transport and most work vehicles and company cars. Following the introduction of new regulations in 2015, it is now also against the law to smoke in a private vehicle when children are present.

There are a few limited exemptions to the ban where smoking may take place in designated rooms providing certain requirements are met, including: overnight sleeping accommodation in hotels, hostels and private members’ clubs; prison cells; hospices; long stay care settings; specialist tobacconist shops and tobacco research facilities.

Whilst the places where tobacco and other substances can be smoked is heavily restricted, smoking itself it not banned, and may still take place outdoors (subject to other restrictions or local by-laws) and in the home, provided the area is not used as a workplace by more than one person. All common parts of flats and communal accommodation must be smoke-free. Where smoking shelters are provided, these must comply with the requirements to be less than fifty per cent enclosed otherwise they will be deemed substantially enclosed under the regulations.

The Regulations reflect the minimum requirements to comply with the ban. Some employers and premises owners may choose to go further and impose a smoking ban in all areas under their control, including outside grounds and car parks.

Guidance on the Regulations can be found on the Smokefreeengland website: Everything you need to prepare for the new smokefree law on 1 July 2007.

Commons Briefing papers SN04414

Authors: Cecilia Barbry; Sarah Hartwell-Naguib; Sarah Barber

Topics: Roads, Smoking

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