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A smoking ban in Scotland came into force on 26th March 2006, Wales on 2nd April 2007, and Northern Ireland on 30th April 2007. Restrictions on smoking in enclosed and substantially enclosed public places have been introduced following strong scientific and medical evidence which points to the health risks associated with exposure to second-hand smoke.

Key points of the legislation include:

Definition of Enclosed or Substantially Enclosed Premises:

Enclosed Premises will be considered ‘enclosed’ if they have a ceiling or roof and (except for doors, windows or passageways) are wholly enclosed either on a permanent or temporary basis.

Substantially Enclosed Premises will be considered ‘substantially enclosed’ if they have a ceiling or roof, but have an opening in the walls, which is less than half the total area of the walls. The area of the opening does not include doors, windows or any other fittings that can be opened or shut.

Required signage for smoke free premises

No-smoking signs will need to be displayed in a prominent position at every public entrance to smoke free premises. These must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • be a minimum of A5 in area (210mm x 148mm)
  • display the international no-smoking symbol* at least 70mm in diameter
  • carry the following words in characters that can be easily read: ‘No smoking. It is against the law to smoke in these premises’

A smaller sign consisting of the international no-smoking symbol at least 70mm in diameter may instead be displayed at entrances to smoke free premises that are:

  • only used by members of staff. providing the premises displays at least one A5 area sign,
  • or located within larger smoke free premises, such as a shop within an indoor shopping centre.

Required signage for smoke free vehicles

Smoke free vehicles will need to display a no-smoking sign in each compartment of the vehicle in which people can be carried. This must show the international no-smoking symbol at least 70mm in diameter.

Signs will be included in the Smoke free England guidance mailing to businesses in April. Additional signs can be downloaded and printed from this website or at  Alternatively, you are welcome to design and print your own no-smoking signs as long as they meet the minimum requirements. You are also free to personalise your signs by changing the words ‘these premises’ to refer to the name or type of premises – such as ‘this gym’, ‘this salon’ or ‘this restaurant’.

You can download a copy of compliant smoke free signage from the following options:



Hotel Bedrooms – May be designated in writing as smoking bedrooms for the use of residents only. Any room which opens on to a smoke free area MUST have mechanically closing doors.

Residential Care Homes – May designate single occupancy residents’ rooms as smoking in writing for the use of residents only. Alternatively, a room in a residential care setting can be designated in writing for the purpose of smoking only and for the use of residents only.

Mental Health Care settings – will be subject to the same exemptions as residential care settings above until 1st July 2008 only after which all exemptions in these settings are withdrawn.


Fixed Penalty Notices Smoking in a smoke free place could lead to a fine of up to £200 with a fixed penalty notice of £50 discounted to £30 for early payment.

Failure to display an appropriate sign could lead to a fine of up to £1000 with a fixed penalty notice of £200 discounted to £150 for early payment.

If you are considering providing smoking shelters or an outdoor area for smokers at your business we also recommend that you consider some of the following issues:

Planning permission – you may require planning permission for any additional structures at your business premises.

License – If you are a licensed premises you may need to check that your license covers any intended changes to sale and consumption of alcohol at your premises

Noise – Large numbers of people congregating in smoking areas can create a noise nuisance. Please encourage your customers to respect local residents.

Litter – Cigarette waste is unsightly and can present a poor business image. If you are planning to provide an outside area for smokers you can also provide a bin or similar receptacle for cigarette ends. Encourage smokers to use bins where provided.

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