Smoke Free Legislation


30 April 2007 saw the introduction of The Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.  This means that smoking is not permitted in enclosed or substantially enclosed workplaces, work vehicles and public places.

The new legislation requires that those responsible for smoke-free premises and vehicles must ensure that staff, customers and visitors do not smoke in these areas.

The Government commissioned a major public consultation between December 2004 and March 2005.  They received more than 70,000 responses to a range of questions about smoking in public in Northern Ireland.  Over 90% of those who responded said they would support smoke-free laws. 

Why do we need smoke-free legislation?

The new law intends to protect people from second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke is breathing in other people’s tobacco smoke. Research has shown that, in non-smokers, exposure to second-hand smoke can increase the risk of:

• Lung cancer by 20 –30%

• Heart disease by 25-35%

• Asthma by 40 – 60%

• Stroke by 80%

Second-hand tobacco smoke is a mixture of over 4,000 chemicals, around 60 of which are known or suspected to cause cancer.

Why is ventilation not enough?

Ventilation may remove the smell of tobacco smoke but it does not eliminate all the cancer-causing particles and gases from the air. Just because the air is not visibly smoky does not mean it is safe.

You cannot comply with the law by providing ventilation.

What does the smoking ban mean to my Business?

This means that smoking in enclosed or substantially enclosed workplaces (including work vehicles) and enclosed or substantially enclosed places to which the public have access will be against the law. The law will also require you to DISPLAY SIGNS at each entrance to smoke-free premises and in smoke-free vehicles. A duty is also placed on the business to stop people smoking in smoke-free places and vehicles.

To help you comply with the legislation the Council recommends you to:

• Inform and consult staff on the changes this law will mean to them.

• Introduce a smoke-free policy.

• Train staff on how to deal with breaches in the policy.

• Review your policy and update if necessary.

• Keep a written record of any breaches of the policy, including breaches by members of the public.

You will also need to consider litter, noise and liquor licensing issues, if staff or customers use external areas to smoke.

Useful Documents: (PDF format)

Smoke Free Policy for Employers

Sample Smoke Free Policy for hotels etc.

Sample Smoke Free Policy for nursing homes, etc