London Borough of Croydon

Smoke free premises – the guidance

  1. The law
  2. Where people can and can't smoke
  3. Smoke free: how to comply
  4. Residential accommodation
  5. Who will enforce the law
  6. What would be the penalties for not complying
  7. Contact us and further information

The Law

The smokefree law has been introduced to protect employees and the public from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

England is now smoke free

Smoking is no longer allowed in all workplaces, public premises, public transport and work vehicles in England. This includes every pub, club, café, restaurant, shop, office, as well as work and public transport.

It means that you, your staff, customers and visitors are not allowed to smoke within your premises if they are wholly or substantially enclosed.

Smoking rooms are no longer allowed. If you haven't already, you need to take steps to ensure that employees, customers, members and visitors obey the new law.

What is meant by smoking?

The law applies to smoking any substance, or being in possession of lit tobacco or any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked, such as:

  • manufactured cigarettes
  • hand-rolled cigarettes
  • pipes and cigars
  • herbs
  • water / shisha pipes

Where people can and can't smoke

The law prohibits smoking in any public place that is "enclosed or substantially enclosed".

This means an area with a ceiling or roof - except for doors, windows and passageways –

  • that is either enclosed (permanently or temporarily);
  • or has an opening less than half of the area (50%) of its walls (see the pictured examples below).


This is commonly referred to as the 50% rule. This means that previously designated 'smoking rooms' are no longer allowed. This includes any fixed or movable structure, such as canvas awnings. Tents and marquees etc are also classified as enclosed premises if they fall within the above definition.


The law prohibits smoking in vehicles used for business purposes. These include:

  • Light and heavy goods vehicles
  • Public transport such as taxis, buses and trains
  • Vehicles used by more than one person for work - including voluntary work and even if used by different people at different times

However, if you use your own private car for work it is not be required to be smoke free.

Am I exempt?

The government has proposed a number of exemptions from smoke free legislation including: private accommodation - except communal areas such as staircases and lifts - accommodation for hotel guests, other residential accommodation in care homes, hospices, mental health units and prisons for adults, performers, specialist tobacconists, research and testing facilities and offshore platforms.

Private accommodation

If you work from home - and employ someone to work in your home office - this must also be smoke free. Anyone visiting your home office to provide services or goods must also comply. The regulations do not restrict people from smoking in any part of a home used for work if the work is to provide personal care for somebody living there, assist with domestic work or undertake work to improve the home for the benefit of the people living there. Private homes include self-contained residential accommodation for temporary or holiday use, e.g. holiday cottage or caravan.

Hotels, guesthouses, inns, hostels and members clubs

All of the above are considered as an extension of a person's home and as such, are exempt. There are conditions that must be met for designated accommodation in hotels, guesthouses, inns, hostels, or members clubs. This applies only to guest accommodation and not to rooms in general. Smoking rooms must be designated in writing by the person in charge of the premises; they must be fully enclosed (except doors and windows) and must not have a ventilation system that ventilates into any other part of the premises, except another smoking room. Smoking rooms must be clearly marked as a room where smoking is permitted and all doors to smoking rooms must be self-closing. However, unless your premises falls into any of the above categories, it is unlikely that you are exempt from the law. You must comply fully with the law or risk financial penalty. If you are unsure about whether your premises are exempt contact us.

Who will enforce the law?

The government requires local council to carry out any necessary enforcement. Croydon’s environmental health team is working with food businesses, shops, offices and other workplaces to implement the new smoking law.

Officers will provide advice and support to businesses wherever possible and enforcing only where necessary to protect the public.

Inspections carried out by enforcement officers are either proactive: advising businesses and ensuring compliance with the law - or reactive: in response to a complaint. Inspections may also be incorporated within other visits, e.g. health and safety, food hygiene and licensing inspections.

Authorised enforcement officers have the power to enter premises to determine whether the law is being upheld. They'll also assess whether or not those in control of the premises have taken all reasonable precautions to prevent people smoking.

What would be the penalties for not complying?


There are very few exemptions to the smoking ban. The new law affects most public premises, including workplaces and work vehicles. Failure to comply with the law is a criminal offence. Individuals can be fined a fixed penalty for smoking in smoke free premises. They can also be prosecuted and face a fine.


The management or person in control of a no smoking premises can be fined a fixed penalty for failing to display warning notices in no smoking premises. They can also be prosecuted and face a fine. If the management or person in control of any no smoking premises fails to prevent smoking, they can be prosecuted and face a fine.

Croydon Council's Health and Safety Team are responsible for enforcing the law. If you don't comply with the smokefree law, you will be committing a criminal offence.

Smoking-related complaint or more information?

For complaint or enquiries please use the Contact details below.

Visit for more information.


Health and Safety (General Enquiries in commercial premises)

Address Line:

Croydon Council

Food and Safety Team

Development and Environment

6th Floor, Zone A

Bernard Weatherill House

8 Mint Walk