The new law is being introduced to protect employees and the public from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.
Key points are:
From 1 July 2007 it will be against the law to smoke in virtually all enclosed and substantially enclosed public places and workplaces. See below for definitions.
Public transport and work vehicles used by more than one person will also need to be smokefree.
No-smoking signs will have to be displayed in all smokefree premises and vehicles.
Staff smoking rooms and indoor smoking areas will no longer be allowed, so anyone who wants to smoke will have to go outside.
Managers of smokefree premises and vehicles will have legal responsibilities to prevent people from smoking.
If you are uncertain where you can or can't smoke, just look for the no-smoking signs or ask someone in charge.
Penalties and fines for breaking the smokefree law
If you don't comply with the new smokefree law, you will be committing a criminal offence. The fixed penalty notices and maximum fine for each offence are:
Smoking in smokefree premises or work vehicles: a fixed penalty notice of £50 (reduced to £30 if paid in 15 days) imposed on the person smoking. Or a maximum fine of £200 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.
Failure to display no-smoking signs: a fixed penalty notice of £200 (reduced to £150 if paid in 15 days) imposed on whoever manages or occupies the smokefree premises or vehicle. Or a maximum fine of £1000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.
Failing to prevent smoking in a smokefree place: a maximum fine of £2500 imposed on whoever manages or controls the smokefree premises or vehicle if prosecuted and convicted by a court. There is no fixed penalty notice for this offence.
Local councils will be responsible for enforcing the new law in England.
A telephone line (0800 587 166 7) will also be in operation from 1 July 2007 to enable members of the public to report possible breaches of the law. This information will be passed to local councils to follow-up as appropriate.
Definition of enclosed and substantially 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.
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.
Businesses and organisations should contact their local council if they require further guidance on whether their premises are 'enclosed' or 'substantially enclosed'