Smoking in the Workplace

No smoking day takes place this year on Wednesday 8 March 2023.

As such, it is a good reminder for employers to consider how they deal with smoking in the workplace taking account of legal requirements and the views of employees.

Smoking is not permitted in any workplaces or public places which are ‘enclosed’ or ‘substantially enclosed.

By law, businesses must:

  • Display ‘no smoking’ signs in all workplaces and vehicles
  • Make sure people don’t smoke in enclosed work premises or shared vehicles. Staff smoking rooms aren’t allowed – smokers must go outside.

Businesses can be fined up to £2,500 if they don’t stop people smoking in the workplace or up to £1,000 if they don’t display ‘no smoking’ signs.

In Scotland, there is a fixed penalty fine of £200, which can go up to £2,500 if the fine isn’t paid. Workers can be fined up to £200, or up to £50 in Scotland, for breaking the law.

Smoking is not permitted in any work vehicle that more than one person uses, eg:

  • taxis
  • buses
  • vans
  • goods vehicles used by more than one driver
  • company cars used by more than one employee

The law prohibiting smoking inside workplaces does not apply to e-cigarettes or vaping. Employers can therefore decide if they can be used on their premises.

Workers are entitled to a rest break of at least 20 minutes for every six hours of work. Everyone is entitled to the same breaks, there is no requirement to give additional breaks or provide special treatment for smokers. Therefore, allowing smokers to smoke during working hours is at the employers’ discretion.

If you have any concerns about this subject or general advice, contact us at and we can discuss.

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