UK: You May Huff, But You Can’t Puff…..

Last Updated: 14 November 2005

By Mr Alan Masson and Ms Karen McGill

After much high-profile debate, and although not yet approved by the Scottish Parliament, The Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006 are scheduled to come into force at 0600 hours on 26th March 2006. They will prohibit smoking in "offices, factories and other premises that are non-domestic premises in which one or more persons work" as well as in pubs and hotels. This means that all enclosed public places, including workplaces (however small), must be smoke-free. "No-smoking premises" are defined as those places which have a ceiling or roof and, except for doors, windows or passageways, are wholly enclosed, whether permanently or temporarily, and:

  • to which the public or a section of the public has access;
  • which are being used wholly or mainly as a place of work by persons who are employees;
  • which are being used by and for the purposes of a club or other unincorporated association; or
  • which are being used wholly or mainly for the provision of education, health or care services.

In the workplace, this applies to employers, employees, customers and visitors to the premises. It also applies to individuals who work alone in their own business premises and who have no employees.

The Scottish Executive are due to publish guidance in October of this year which will set out the steps that employers, managers or those in control of premises should take to comply with the law. This will include the display of no-smoking notices so that they are clearly visible to all employees, customers and visitors while in the premises, including at each entrance, in toilets and staff rooms. Smoke-free policies will require to be developed and implemented. All ashtrays will require to be removed from premises and, where appropriate, external stubbing out bins will require to be provided at entrances to premises.

Employers are not obliged to provide external smoking shelters for their staff, but they may want to at least consider it if a large number of staff are affected. Any external shelter must have an opening which is greater than half of the area of its walls in order to avoid the shelter from becoming "substantially enclosed" and thereby resulting in a breach of the Regulations. Employers may also wish to consider providing support to any of its staff who wish to give up smoking, but again this is not set to be a requirement. Those employers whose premises are already smoke-free should consider putting in place a written no-smoking policy, if they haven’t already done so. Employers will be expected to take all reasonable measures to ensure that its staff, customers or visitors to its premises do not smoke.

What does this mean in practical terms?

It bans smoking from all public places by:

  • making it an offence to smoke in no smoking premises;
  • making it an offence to permit others to smoke in no smoking premises;
  • making it an offence to fail to display warning notices in no smoking premises;
  • giving enforcement officers the power to enter no-smoking premises;
  • making it an offence to fail, without reasonable cause, to give one’s name and address to enforcement officers on request.

Is it enough if you already have a designated or segregated area for smoking?

No – the Regulations require a total ban on smoking in enclosed places. It will no longer be enough to set aside a designated or segregated area for smokers, nor will it be enough to say that your workplace is well ventilated and therefore it provides a safe level of exposure to passive smoking.

Will the new law extend to company vehicles?

Yes, all vehicles used for business purposes, including light goods and heavy goods vehicles, taxis, buses, trains and ferries will be covered by the new law. The only exception will be for those who use their own private car for business purposes.

Who has been tasked with enforcing and "policing" the new law?

Environmental Health Officers have the power to enter all no-smoking premises to establish that the smoke free legislation is being enforced. They can also give out fixed penalty notices to people whom they believe are committing, or have committed, an offence under the new legislation. Those in control of no-smoking premises could be liable to a fixed penalty fine of £200 if they have not taken reasonable action to prevent someone from smoking on the premises, or if they have not provided adequate no-smoking signs. Individuals who smoke in no smoking premises will be liable to a fixed penalty fine of £50. Changes in the licensing laws are also being brought in which will take account of a publican’s failure to comply with the law, when deciding on future licensing applications.

Are there any exemptions to the new law?

Yes, mainly on humanitarian grounds. Residential accommodation, designated rooms in adult care homes, adult hospices, designated rooms in psychiatric hospitals and units, designated hotel bedrooms, designated detention or interview rooms, designated rooms in offender accommodation premises, offshore installations and private vehicles are exempt. Nothing in the new law, however, obliges an employer or manager of exempted premises to permit smoking or to provide a smoking area.

While Liverpool has already implemented its own smoking ban in public places, the rest of England is not expected to follow their lead until 2008. At the moment, however, it is not anticipated that the restrictions south of the border will be as prohibitive as they are to be in Scotland.

This article featured in the September 2005 issue of MacRoberts Employment Law e-update.

Full Copyright Notice and Disclaimer.

© MacRoberts 2005

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions