ASH Welcomes Smokefree Regulations

Monday 17 July 2006

Media Release:  For Immediate Use, Monday 17th July 2006  



Action on Smoking and Health(ASH) has given a “broad welcome” to the Government’s consultationdocument on proposed Regulations under the Health Bill. The Regulations willcontain much of the detail of how smokefree legislation will work in practice.  


Key points in theconsultation document include:

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt;font-family:symbol’>·        Definition of enclosed or substantiallyenclosed Premises: premises will beenclosed if they have a ceiling or roof, and (except for doors, windows, etc),whether on a permanent or temporary basis. Premises will be considered to besubstantially enclosed if they have a ceiling or roof, but there are openingsin the walls which are less than half of the total area of walls

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt;font-family:symbol’>·        Smokefree premises<spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt’> will have to display a “prominently visible”no-smoking sign at each public entrance to the premises. The no smoking signwill have to be at least A5 in size, display the international “no smoking”symbol (a burning cigarette in red circle with red bar across it), and carrythe words “No smoking. It is against the law to smoke in thesepremises.”

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt;font-family:symbol’>·        Enforcement <spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt’>will be carried out by local Councils (in practicemainly by Environmental Health Officers). The Government will meet Councils’additional costs for this work

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt;font-family:symbol’>·        Hotel bedrooms, and designatedrooms in care homes, hospices, long stay mental health units<spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt’> and prisons will be exempt from thelegislation, but designated rooms with doors that open onto smokefree parts ofpremises will have to have mechanical closing

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt;font-family:symbol’>·        Smoking in a smokefree place<spanstyle=’font-size:11.0pt’> could lead to a fine of up to £200, with a fixedpenalty notice option as above of £50, discounted to £30 for early payment. Failingto prevent smoking in smokefree place could lead to a fine up to £2,500,with no option for a fixed penalty notice.


Contrary to some mediareports, the Government will not at this stage use its powers (under Clause 4of the Health Bill) to designate additional places such as sports stadia, busand railway stations as smokefree.


ASH spokesman Ian Willmorecomments:


“TheGovernment has rightly opted for Regulations that will be easy for employers,workers and members of the public to understand, should command wide publicsupport, and should therefore be generally observed with the minimum need forenforcement. This has already been the experience in the Irish Republic and inScotland.


Whilewe generally welcome these very reasonable proposals, we want to see theGovernment act to ensure that sports stadia, bus and railway stations are allsmokefree. These are public places where people will otherwise be exposed tosignificant risk from secondhand smoke. We are very pleased that juvenileoffender institutions and mental health facilities that are not longstay willbe smokefree, but we want to see the Government commit to a timetable to move allmental health units and prisons to smokefree status. And we call on all localCouncils to make publicising, implementing and enforcing this law a highpriority.


TheseRegulations will help protect millions of workers and members of the publicfrom the serious risks of harm from secondhand smoke. They will also helpencourage many smokers to quit their lethal addiction. This is anotherimportant day for public health.” 




Ian Willmore               0207739 5902 (w) 07887 641344 (m)

Carol Lever                0207739 5902