The Smoking Ban in the UK

No Smoking

On the 1st July 2007 smoking is no longer permitted in any enclosed or substantially enclosed premises or vehicles that are open to the public.  This new law was put in place by the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations and the Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations.

The following are subject to the ban:

  • Pubs

  • Restaurants

  • Bars

  • All places of work

  • Taxis

  • Airports

  • Train Stations

  • Train Platforms  

Places of Work

This is taken to mean offices, workshops etc but can also be extended to company cars and lorry rigs etc. There are some exceptions to this rule however when concerned with designated smoking areas within hotels or residential nursing homes.

What happens if I get caught smoking in a public place?

Individual members of the public can face an on-the-spot fine of £50 pounds if caught smoking in a public place. If the matter reaches court usually through repeat offending then the individual may be liable to a fine of up to £1000.

I run a pub, what happens if my premises are found to be in breach of the ban?

Employers or managers of the premises which someone has been found to be smoking in are liable to a fine of £200 which has the potential to rise to £2500 if it is not paid within the specified time frame.  

Owners or employers of premises who consistently flaunt the regulations are likely to face prosecution in court.

Obligations Under the Regulations: Signage

Public Places

No Smoking signage must be displayed on the premises at each entrance in a prominent position which is visible to all employees, customers and visitors. The signage must contain the standard no smoking sign which must be at least A5 size and specifically have the words “NO SMOKING. It is against the law to smoke on these premises” clearly displayed. The words can be varied slightly depending on the nature of the public place, for example pubs or bars can have a sign stating that it is against the law to smoke in this pub or bar.


In the case of public transport which includes taxis, trains and busses and the case of business transport, i.e. a company car, that may carry more than one specified employee there must be a sign which displays the no smoking prohibition symbol. The prohibition symbol must be at least 70mm in diameter and must be present in each possible compartment which could carry a passenger. For example a mini-cab must have the sign clearly visible in both the front and back of the car.

Other Jurisdictions

The following UK nations also have a smoking ban: 

  • Northern Ireland – came into effect on 30th April 2007 by the Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.  

  • Scotland – came into effect on 26th March 2006 by The Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006  

  • Wales – came into effect on Monday 2nd April 2007 by the Smoke-free Premises (Wales) Regulations 2007