Smoking in the Workplace

Smoking in the workplace legislation was introduced in England in 2007, banning smoking in nearly all enclosed workplaces and public spaces, following similar bans in Scotland and Wales. Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the legislation. 

36% of fires reported between 2014 and 2015 were caused by Smokers’ materials (i.e. cigarettes, cigars or pipe tobacco). As one of the leading causes of fire, cigarettes are responsible for a large percentage of fire related deaths in the UK every year.

Ensure smoking does not take place outside the premises close to combustible materials and suitable ashtrays/containers such as sand filled buckets are provided. If smoking shelters are provided ensure these are not in close proximity to the workplace premise.

Vaping, E-Cigarettes. Smoking in the Workplace

Smoking in the workplace regulations include E-cigarettes although they are not regulated like tobacco products and there is currently no bespoke regulatory system for e-cigarettes in the UK, but they are captured by general product safety regulatory requirements. 

There have been cases of vaping devices/e-cigarettes causing fire the following safety tips are recommended -

*Only use chargers designed for use with the specific device.  Some chargers may overcharge the product, leading to an increased risk of fire.

*Never leave a vaping device charging unattended, and never leave them charging overnight – especially next to your bed.

*Never use a vaping device close to medical oxygen, flammable emollient creams or airflow mattresses.

*Do not buy counterfeit goods as batteries and/or chargers are unlikely to have over current protection and could lead to batteries exploding.

*Never modify or adapt personal vaporisers and their associated kit

*Never use damaged equipment or batteries

Smoking in Vehicles

It is illegal to smoke in a car (or other vehicles) with anyone under 18 present. The law is to protect children and young people from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Both the driver and the smoker could be fined £50. The law applies to every driver in England and Wales, including those aged 17 and those with a provisional driving licence. The law does not apply if the driver is 17 years old and is on their own in the car.

The law applies to any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof. It still applies if people have the windows or sunroof open, have the air conditioning on, or if they sit in the open doorway of the vehicle. The law won’t apply to a convertible car with the roof completely down.

Further information

HSE’s advice is that an employer needs to consider e-cigarettes in the wider context of risk in the workplace. HSE are aware that some organisations have banned their use but this is not something the HSE has advised on. For further information on smoking in the workplace see the HSE guidance document