This page provides information on Northern Irelands’ smoke-free legislation. It contains advice on smoke-free vehicles, smoking shelters, how to comply within the law and selling tobacco and butane to under 18s.
On 30 April 2007 Northern Ireland became smoke-free, which means that enclosed and substantially enclosed public places and workplaces must be smoke-free at all times. The law intends to protect members of the public and employees from the harmful effects of second hand smoke. Research shows that second hand smoke can increase the risk of a stroke by 80%, as well as increase the risk of heart disease and asthma. Any person who is responsible for managing a smoke-free place, and any person who is in control of a smoke-free place, must ensure this place remains smoke-free at all times. If this person fails to do this, they could be fined up to £2,500.
Any person who smokes in a smoke-free place can be fined £50.
A smoke-free place includes enclosed and substantially enclosed premises and enclosed vehicles.
It is an offence to smoke in a smoke-free vehicle which includes all public service vehicles, such as buses and taxis, and most vehicles used during the course of voluntary or paid work. Smoke-free vehicles must display the correct no smoking signage. Any person responsible for managing a smoke-free vehicle and any driver of that vehicle must ensure it is smoke-free. To find out if your vehicle should be designated as smoke-free, please contact the Environmental Health Section T. 028 9446 3113.
If businesses wish to provide a form of shelter for their employees or customers to smoke in, certain requirements apply. It is strongly recommended that, before a designated smoking shelter is constructed or altered, businesses contact Environmental Health to discuss these requirements. Planning or building approval does not always mean that the shelter complies with the smoke-free requirements. If businesses do not comply with these requirements it may result in costly alterations.
Please be aware that employers are not legally required to provide employees with a smoking shelter.
Any person responsible for the management of a smoke-free place must take reasonable steps to ensure their premises or vehicle is smoke-free at all times. This includes ensuring that all employees and members of the public are aware that the place is smoke—free by displaying the correct no smoking signs. It is also recommended that employers implement a smoke-free policy and regularly monitor smoke-free areas. Businesses that operate a large vehicle fleet in particular should consider a smoke-free policy. A template for a smoke-free policy is available. Employers should ensure the policy reflects their own business operations and that all employees are made aware of the policy requirements.
Template: Smoke-free Policy
No Smoking Signs
All smoke-free premises and vehicles must display the correct no smoking signage in a prominent position. No Smoking signage is available from the Environmental Health Section T. 028 9446 3113.
Smoking Cessation within the Workplace
A free stop smoking service is available to employers and their employees within the Borough of Antrim. Healthy employees take less time off work and are more productive when at work. Using the workplace setting to encourage and support people to quit smoking creates a win-win situation for everyone – better health, increased production hours, improved staff morale, a pleasant working environment and a good corporate image. The Workplace Smoking Cessation Specialist can visit employers at their workplace and provide guidance on what steps can be taken to maximising employees’ health through addressing smoking cessation at work.
For further information, please visit www.want2stop.info/workplace or contact Mrs Gillian Mc Atackney on 028 2587 2866 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Smoke Free Policy for Business
Ending Tobacco Sales from Vending Machines in Northern Ireland