Smoking in the workplace

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Smoking in the workplace
  • Obligation to provide a smoke-free workplace
  • Obligation to display no-smoking signs
  • Company vehicles
  • Offences relevant in the workplace
  • Criminal penalties
  • Smoking shelters
  • Smoking policy
  • Introducing or amending a smoking policy
  • Permitted smoking locations
  • More...

Smoking in the workplace

Providing a smoke-free workplace (in enclosed or substantially enclosed premises) has been obligatory in England since 1 July 2007, under the Health Act 2006 (HA 2006)—see Obligation to provide a smoke-free workplace, below.

Associated regulations prescribe:

  1. signage required to be displayed in a smoke-free place—see Obligation to display no-smoking signs

  2. rules regarding smoke-free vehicles—see Company vehicles

  3. criminal penalties for breach—see Criminal penalties

  4. the design and placement of smoking shelters—see Smoking shelters

The obligations are enforced by local authorities and relevant local authority websites are another source of more information for employers.

This Practice Note also covers:

  1. issues relating to the use of a smoking policy—see Smoking policy

  2. disciplinary and dismissal issues—see Disciplinary and dismissal issues

  3. whistleblowing issues which may arise where an employee reports another employee for smoking in breach of the rules or raises other concerns—see Whistleblowing

  4. issues for employers relating to the practice of ‘vaping’, ie the use of e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes—see E-cigarettes and ‘vaping’

Separate legislation covers:

  1. Scotland—see Scotland—smoking in the workplace, below

  2. Wales—see Wales—smoking in the workplace, below

Obligation to provide a smoke-free workplace

HA 2006 provides for the prohibition of smoking in certain premises, places and vehicles, which are designated as 'smoke-free' under the Act.

Premises are designated as smoke-free if they are:

  1. open to the public (but, unless the premises are also a workplace, only when

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