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Smokefree Birmingham - FAQs

Where can I obtain a copy of the new smoke-free legislation?
An up-to-date copy of the legislation can be obtained from http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/

Can I be fined for smoking outside?
No. The smokefree legislation covers enclosed and substantially enclosed public places and workplaces, in other words places that are essentially indoors. But remember that cigarette packaging and stubs are litter just as much as other items like crisp packets, sweet wrappers, drink cans etc. and failing to dispose of litter properly can mean you being issued with a fixed penalty notice (£80).

Do I have to provide smoking shelters for my staff?
No. Employers are not obliged to provide smoking shelters for their staff. However, employers do have an obligation to control the amount of litter and noise which could result from staff / members of the public congregating outside.

What action does my business need to take?
Businesses need to display no-smoking signs at entrances to buildings and in work vehicles and ensure that people do not smoke in any enclosed and substantially enclosed areas of the premises

What does enclosed and substantially enclosed mean?
Enclosed and substantially enclosed workplaces are those with a ceiling or roof and more than 50% of their perimeter consisting of walls (including windows and doors). This effectively means all indoor areas.

What do the no smoking signs look like and where can I get them?
An A5 size sign displaying the international no-smoking symbol (at least 70mm in diameter), together with the words 'No Smoking. It is against the law to smoke in these premises.' This sign will have to be displayed in a prominent position at each entrance to your premises. Smaller signs will also be required for vehicles.
Signs can be obtained FREE OF CHARGE from http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/ or by calling Smokefree England information line on 0800 169 169 7.

What penalties will there be for people who break the law?
1. Anyone found smoking in a smoke free place would be served a Fixed Penalty Notice of £50
2. Failure to display the appropriate No Smoking signs would result in a Fixed Penalty of £200
3. Failing to prevent smoking in a workplace will result in prosecution of the manager on duty with a fine of up to £2,500

Who will enforce the new law?
The manager on duty will be expected to ensure that staff and visitors do not smoke in the premises. Enforcement Officers from Birmingham City Council will be responsible for enforcing the smokefree legislation across the City. It is likely that compliance checks will be carried out as well as the investigation of any complaints.

What are the benefits of the new law?
Clearly, there are many benefits to the new legislation including; reduced exposure to second-hand smoke and proven associated health risks, reduced employers costs in terms of productivity and absenteeism and increased non-smoker business. It is estimated that thousands of lives will be saved over the next decade.

My business is already smokefree will I have to do anything?
Yes. Most businesses that are already smokefree do not have the correct A5 signs on all public entrances, and signs on staff entrances. These signs are available from the Department of Health. Failure to display the correct signs can result in a Fixed Penalty of £200.

What about sole traders?
Sole traders also need to comply with the law, unless they are working from home.

Can I have a designated smoking room?
No. If you own premises that the public can access or which more than one person works in then all enclosed and substantially enclosed areas must be Smokefree. This essentially means that all indoor areas must be Smokefree.

Are there any exceptions?
Yes. There are likely to be limited exemptions for premises that act as private dwellings such as residential care homes and adult hospices together with other premises such as prisons, designated hotel rooms and some private vehicles

How am I supposed to stop someone from smoking in my business?
It is recommended that your company produce a Smokefree policy to deal with such situations. The manager on duty will be expected to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the person stops smoking.

I have a small business with only a couple of employees who both smoke. Does the law still apply to me?
Yes. If your workplace is wholly or substantially enclosed (basically if it is indoors) then it must be Smokefree.

Do I need planning permission for a shelter?
If you are planning to erect a permanent structure you should contact the Planning Department as you may require Planning permission. It should be noted that planning permission can take up to 8 weeks. You should also consider if the shelter will affect your license, and if the structure needs permission from the Highways Department.

Planning- 0121 303 1115
Licensing- 0121 303 8222
Highways- 0121 303 6644

Can I set up a street cafe / put tables and chairs out on the street ?
Yes. In general, all parts of the public highway may be used for Street Cafes, assuming all safety and non-obstruction requirements are met. Applicants will need to obtain permission from the Highways Department (which includes getting written permission for the proposls from the Planning Department). If alcohol is to be consumed outside you then you should contact Licensing - alcohol and entertainment in order to clarify whether you need a new license or variation to any existing license.

What about hire cars and work vehicles?
All leased cars are exempt. Vehicles being primarily used for businesses purposes should be smokefree and display the appropriate no-smoking signs.

Can I smoke in taxis, trains and public transport?
No. All public transport must comply with the smokefree law. This includes when the driver is in the cab on his/her own.

Is there any help for employees, staff and customers who want to stop smoking?
Yes. The Primary Care Trust (PCT) has a range of services across Birmingham. They run support groups and most GP surgeries have trained staff that can offer one to one appointments. The PCT will also run support groups for your employees, staff and customers in your business premises. For further information you may wish to contact the local NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0800 0525 855.

Who should I contact if I require further information?
Visit our webpages at http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/smokefree
email us at: Environmental Health contact us
Telephone: 0121 303 6007