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15th June 2015

No Smoking in the Workplace

Smoking in public places and the workplace is dealt with as a public health matter within the UK. Smoke-free legislation was introduced on the 1st July 2007, banning smoking in nearly all enclosed workplaces and public spaces. Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the legislation.

Legislation - Part 1, Chapter 1 of Chapter 28 of the Health Act 2006

The legislation Part 1, chapter 1 of Chapter 28 of the Health Act 2006 covers smoking and smoke free premises, places and vehicles.

According to legislation the term “smoking” refers to smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance, and smoking includes being in possession of lit tobacco or of anything lit which contains tobacco, or being in possession of any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked.

Smoke-free premises

Premises are smoke-free if they are open to the public.

Premises are smoke-free if they are used as a place of work:

  • By more than one person (even if the persons who work there do so at different times, or only intermittently),
  • Where members of the public might attend for the purpose of seeking or receiving goods or services from the person or persons working there (even if members of the public are not always present). They are smoke-free all the time

The exceptions are:

Any premises where a person has his home, or is living whether permanently or temporarily (including hotels, care homes, and prisons and other places where a person may be detained).

Management of No Smoking at work

Businesses must:

  • Display ‘no smoking’ signs in all workplaces and vehicles
  • Employers should consult their employees and their representatives on the appropriate smoking policy to suit their particular workplace.
  • Ensure people don’t smoke in enclosed work premises or shared vehicles
  • Staff smoking rooms aren’t allowed - smokers must go outside.

Smoking in work vehicles

Smoking isn’t allowed in any work vehicle that more than 1 person uses, eg:

  • Taxis;
  • Buses;
  • Vans;
  • Goods vehicles used by more than 1 driver;
  • Company cars used by more than 1 employee.
  • A worker can smoke in a company car that only they use if their employer deems this acceptable.

Residential care homes

Residential care homes and hospices can offer individual smoking rooms but only for residents.

The rooms must be well ventilated and ensure smoke does not enter other rooms.

Electronic Cigarettes

E-cigarettes are not regulated like tobacco products and there is currently no bespoke regulatory system for e-cigarettes in the UK, but they are captured by general product safety regulatory requirements. HSE does not enforce legislation or standards for e-cigarettes.

Electronic cigarette policy

In order to establish a policy, consider the following five questions:

  1. What are the issues you trying to deal with?
  2. What do you think you need to control?
  3. Do you have concerns about the possibility of harm from Nicotine Containing Products (NCPs)?
  4. Will restricting or prohibiting use of Nicotine Containing Products support compliance with smokefree policies?
  5. Do you want your policy to help to improve people’s health?

In Summary:

  • No smoking signs must be clearly displayed in all smoke free premises and vehicles
  • It illegal to smoke in all public enclosed or substantially enclosed area and workplaces.
  • The ban includes smoking on vehicles which serve the public and / or are used for work purposes
  • Senior managers of any premises have to take reasonable measures to ensure that all staff and/or visitors are aware of the ban and to uphold the ban
  • Work smoking rooms and areas are no longer permitted

QCS Policies

QCS have guidance and policies for no smoking to support your service in meeting the requirements of health and safety.


Health Act 2006

Sally Beck RGN, BSc (Hons), MSc, CMIOSH – QCS Expert Health and Safety Contributor

Topics: Health & Safety

Sarah Riley

Senior Customer Care Executive

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