ASH Welcomes Smokefree Regulations

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

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

Key points in the consultation document include: 

Definition of enclosed or substantially enclosed Premises: premises will be enclosed 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 be substantially enclosed if they have a ceiling or roof, but there are openings in the walls which are less than half of the total area of walls

Smokefree premises will have to display a “prominently visible”no-smoking sign at each public entrance to the premises. The no smoking sign will 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 carry the words “No smoking. It is against the law to smoke in these premises.”

Enforcement will be carried out by local Councils (in practice mainly by Environmental Health Officers). The Government will meet Councils’additional costs for this work

Hotel bedrooms, and designated rooms in care homes, hospices, long stay mental health units and prisons will be exempt from the legislation, but designated rooms with doors that open onto smokefree parts of premises will have to have mechanical closing

Smoking in a smokefree place could lead to a fine of up to £200, with a fixed penalty notice option as above of £50, discounted to £30 for early payment. Failing to 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 media reports, the Government will not at this stage use its powers (under Clause 4 of the Health Bill) to designate additional places such as sports stadia, bus and railway stations as smokefree.

ASH spokesman Ian Willmore comments:

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

While we generally welcome these very reasonable proposals, we want to see the Government act to ensure that sports stadia, bus and railway stations are all smokefree. These are public places where people will otherwise be exposed to significant risk from secondhand smoke. We are very pleased that juvenile offender institutions and mental health facilities that are not long stay will be smokefree, but we want to see the Government commit to a timetable to move all mental health units and prisons to smokefree status. And we call on all local Councils to make publicising, implementing and enforcing this law a high priority.

 These Regulations will help protect millions of workers and members of the public from the serious risks of harm from secondhand smoke. They will also help encourage many smokers to quit their lethal addiction. This is another important day for public health.” 




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

Carol Lever                020 7739 5902