FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When will the new smokefree law start?
Sunday, 1 July 2007.
Who will enforce the new law?
Local councils and port health authorities will enforce the new law and will have the power to appoint enforcement officers, such as environmental health officers, trading standards or local community support officers.
Does the law just apply to cigarettes?
No, it covers all substances that a person can smoke. These include manufactured cigarettes, handrolled cigarettes, pipes, cigars, herbal cigarettes and water pipes (including shisha, hookah and hubblebubble pipes).
Can I still have a staff smoking room?
No, but you can have an outdoor smoking shelter, although there is no requirement for you to do so. If you decide to, you will need to ensure it is not ‘enclosed’ or ‘substantially enclosed’.You may also need to consider other issues such as planning, licensing and building control, noise and litter.
Can I smoke in my own car?
Yes, the new law doesn’t cover vehicles used primarily for private purposes.
I share a work vehicle with another smoker. Can we still smoke?
No, the law is designed to protect smokers and nonsmokers from secondhand smoke. Smoking will only be permitted in work vehicles that are for the sole use of the driver and are not used by anyone else for work either as a driver or passenger.
I work from home. Will it be required to be smokefree?
If more than one person uses any part of a private dwelling solely as a place of work, then it will be required to be smokefree.
Does new smokefree law apply to premises and vehicles used for voluntary work?
Yes, the new law applies to all work, including voluntary work.
I occasionally use my private car for voluntary work, will it need to be smokefree?
No, vehicles used primarily for private purposes will not need to be smokefree.
Are nosmoking signs required in heritage buildings?
Any premises required to be smokefree will need to display nosmoking signs that meet the requirements of the new law prominently at entrances. The new law allows flexibility for signs to be designed and displayed in a way that fits the decor of premises.
Where can I get more information? For further information, visit smokefreeengland.co.uk or call the Smokefree England information line on 0800 169 169 7. You can also ask your local council for advice and support.
The new 'nosmoking' signs are available in eight different languages though the graphic would seem to be universally recognised. Still, it enables us to use yet more paper to clutter up our visual environment with tat and rubbish in addition to what we have already.
There's money to be made from these signs. Thirty four different versions can be ordered from:
"No Butts Bin Company"
If you are partially sighted fear not for:
"Additional formats, for example large print and braille, may also be made available on request."
If you really want to continue smoking then perhaps you should be committed to a Mental Health Unit where the legislation doesn't come into effect for another year exactly ~ don't ask! Alternatively, if you reside in a care home there may well be little havens of comfort reserved for you, apart from the bike sheds. Though if the bike shed in question is 'partially enclosed' then it will be deemed to be 'smokefree'. So, no excuses . . . Now for the penalties:
Penalties and fines for breaking the smokefree law
If you don't comply with the new smokefree law, you will be committing a criminal offence. The fixed penalty notices and maximum fine for each offence are:
Smoking in smokefree premises or work vehicles:
a fixed penalty notice of £50 (reduced to £30 if paid in 15 days) imposed on the person smoking. Or a maximum fine of £200 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.
Failure to display no-smoking signs:
a fixed penalty notice of £200 (reduced to £150 if paid in 15 days) imposed on whoever manages or occupies the smokefree premises or vehicle. Or a maximum fine of £1000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.
Failing to prevent smoking in a smokefree place:
a maximum fine of £2500 imposed on whoever manages or controls the smokefree premises or vehicle if prosecuted and convicted by a court. There is no fixed penalty notice for this offence.
Local councils will be responsible for enforcing the new law in England. A telephone line (0800 587 166 7) will also be in operation from 1 July 2007 to enable members of the public to report possible breaches of the law. This information will be passed to local councils to follow-up as appropriate.
Just like parking offences, if you pay up early it is cheaper. Interestingly, those who have to enforce the law suffer heavier penalties than the smoker who has broken the law! Acts of ommission carry heavier penalties than acts of commission. To help everyone become more friendly and sociable, in this new world order, there is help line where you can report to the authorities those who are breaking the law, by smoking; by failing to stop others smoking; by failing to post 'nosmoking' signs .
The Venetians too, had this kind of 'grassing' system to report malefactors, and enemies of the state, however, that was ended a few hundred years ago.