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Smoke Free Premises and Vehicles

Smoking is illegal within public places and workplaces if these are wholly or substantially enclosed.


From 1st March 2021 the smoke-free legislation in Wales has changed.  The previous legislation (The Smoke-free premises etc. (Wales) Regulations 2007 and subsequent amendments) has now been revoked and replaced with

The Public Health (Wales) Act 2017; Chapter I Part 3

The Smoke-free Premises and Vehicles (Wales) Regulations 2020

The new legislation has extended the type of premises where smoke-free requirements are to be applied:

  • Premises open to the public (where enclosed or substantially enclosed)
  • Workplaces (where enclosed or substantially enclosed)
  • Smoke-free vehicles
  • Outdoor care settings for children
  • School grounds
  • Hospital grounds
  • Public playgrounds

Failure to comply with the law is a criminal offence - there are 3 specific offences:

  • failing to display no-smoking signs in premises covered by the law (fixed penalty of £200, or maximum fine of £1000 on conviction)
  • smoking in a smoke-free premises / vehicle (fixed penalty of £100, maximum fine of £200 on conviction)
  • failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place (maximum fine of £2500 on conviction)
  • smoking in a vehicle containing a child under 18 (fixed penalty of £100)

It is also an offence to intentionally obstruct an officer authorised by the local authority to enforce the legislation or to fail to assist the officer in the exercise of his functions without reasonable cause (maximum fine on conviction of £1000).

We enforce these laws and offer businesses support in complying with them.

Smoking in Vehicles

The ban on smoking in public places also applies to any vehicle used for work.

Public transport - Any vehicle used for the transportation of members of the public must be smoke-free at all times, including taxis. This provides members of the public with the reassurance that all public transport will be smoke-free.

Work vehicles - Vehicles used as a workplace by more than one person (whether or not they are in the vehicle at the same time) are required to be smoke-free at all times. This applies to any vehicle used for work regardless of whether it is a heavy goods vehicle, a delivery van or farming vehicle. This protects shift and other workers who use the same vehicle from the health risks of second-hand smoke.

Only vehicles that are enclosed are required to be smoke-free. This means, for example, that a convertible car used for work or public transport would only be required to be smoke-free when the top of the car is in place.

Smoking is permitted in vehicles that are for the sole use of the driver and are not used as a workplace by anyone else, either as a driver or passenger.

Operators of smoke-free vehicles are required to display no smoking signs that conform to the requirements laid down in the regulations. These requirements are the same as the size and type of no smoking sign already used on many forms of public transport such as buses, coaches and trains. 

The operator, driver or any person on a smoke-free vehicle who is responsible for public order or safety has a duty to prevent smoking.

Smoking ban and the provision of smoking shelters

Due to the law preventing smoking in "enclosed or substantially enclosed" public areas, businesses may wish to install smoking shelters or designate areas for employees to smoke. There is no legal requirement to provide shelters but if this is done they must be installed in a way that complies with the requirements of the regulations.

It is recommended that you consider where your staff and customers are likely to smoke. This is due to secondary issues arising from the introduction of the smoking ban such as health and safety issues, litter (such as cigarette ends) and in relation to the licensing trade issues such as noise and anti-social behaviour.

It is advisable that before purchasing or installing any type of shelter that you contact SRS for further guidance:

  • Contact SRS
  • Civic Offices, Holton Road, Barry, CF63 4RU



What does "enclosed or substantially enclosed" mean?

These are defined in the Smoke-free Premises and Vehicles (Wales) Regulations 2020. In simple terms an "enclosed premises" is one with a ceiling or roof and, except for doors, windows and passageways are wholly enclosed either permanently or temporarily. This means that premises do not necessarily have to have walls and could simply be the area under a canopy or awning.

If the walls of a premises has openings (or gaps) that add up to less than half of the total area of the walls then it is classed as "substantially enclosed". Note that doors, windows and passageways are not considered as openings.

Why are doors, windows and passageways excluded as openings?

These have been excluded by legislation when determining whether a premises or part of the premises is wholly or substantially enclosed.

The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that there is adequate and effective natural ventilation anywhere where smoking takes place. In order to ensure this the ideal openings are required to be permanent spaces that are open to the outside air.

Doors, windows and other fittings are capable of being closed. Passageways tend to be enclosed or substantially enclosed and therefore will not assist in ventilation.


Are there standards for smoking shelters?

Because of the large variation in different types of structures that can be used as smoking shelters, standards are extremely difficult to produce and have not been set.

However there is a calculation which can be used to determine if a structure is "enclosed or substantially enclosed".

How do I calculate if a structure is "enclosed or substantially enclosed"?

Firstly the perimeter of the smoking structure has to be decided. This is usually the area under the roof of the structure.

Once the perimeter has been decided you can then discount the roof as it does not form part of the calculation.

Firstly work out the total area enclosed by the perimeter, including all solids and spaces (T). Then work out the total area of the walls (X) and the area of any openings (Y). Remember that walls, doors etc are not considered as openings.

So T = X+Y.

If X is greater than Y, the smoking shelter is substantially enclosed and therefore not suitable.

How far can a smoking structure be from other structures?

There is no specific distance mentioned in law however the legislation is clear that "other structures serving the purpose of walls" can be considered when determining if a structure is "enclosed or substantially enclosed".

The term structures can include natural things such as hedges or man made constructions such as brick walls. Structures can also be permanent or temporary and would therefore include things such as screens and large potted plants.

As structures can provide a sheltering effect any other wall or structure that is in close proximity to a smoking shelter may be considered as moving the perimeter of the area where smoking is allowed and the calculation would be to that extended perimeter. There is therefore a greater chance that the area would not comply and smoking would not be allowed.

It is recommended that shelters are placed as far away from other structures as is reasonably practicable and each situation will need to be looked at individually.

What about Planning, Building Control and Licensing requirements?

It is important to remember that not only must any structures comply with the legislation on Smoking, but also with laws relating to Planning, Building Control and the conditions for licensed premises.

It is also advisable that you contact the Fire Officer to discuss any impact the shelter may have on fire escape routes etc.


You can find out more about the law on smoking in Wales​​​​​​​​​​ on the Welsh Government website