As most people are now aware a smoking ban in England, making it illegal to smoke in all enclosed public places in England, will come into force on 1 July 2007.
This ban will bring an end to smoking in all enclosed public places, including schools, restaurants, pubs and public transport.
For UK business owners this means all enclosed or substantially enclosed spaces within the workplace must be smoke free. Anything with a ceiling or roof and that has closable doors; whether on a temporary of permanent basis will be deemed as enclosed. Substantially enclosed spaces are defined by having a ceiling or roof but with walls that contain up to a 50% open area. Legally, smoke free premises will be required to display a no-smoking sign that meets the minimum requirements.
Those who don’t comply face a fine of up to £2,500 if they fail to stop people smoking on their premises and on the spot fines of £200 for failure to display no-smoking signs (this fine could increase to £1,000 if the case goes to court).
Interestingly, there is no legal requirement for business owners to provide smoking shelters when the ban comes into place, which is seen as a positive move by health conscious employers who do not wish to spend money giving smokers a social area in which to congregate.
If however, employers do wish to provide outside smoking areas, then they will need to ensure that it is not either ‘enclosed’ or ‘substantially enclosed’ and that the areas provided comply with the new laws.