Smoke Free - FAQ

When does the legislation come into force?

The Smoke-free legislation comes into force on 30th April 2007


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Why do we need smoke-free legislation?

The law is intended to protect people from second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke is that breathed in by you from 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.

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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.

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Who will be enforcing this legislation?

The Environmental Health Department of Newry and Mourne District Council are enforcing the legislation in your area.

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What will this mean to my Business?

Smoking in enclosed or substantially enclosed workplaces (including work vehicles) and enclosed and substantially enclosed places to which the public have access is against the law. The law also requires 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 Environmental Health Department recommend you:

  • Inform and consult staff on smoke-free legislation.
  • Maintain 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.

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What does enclosed and substantially enclosed mean?

In broad terms for a premises or structure to be considered as enclosed or substantially enclosed it:

  • Will have a ceiling or roof (includes awnings or other retractable structures e.g. umbrellas); and
  • more than 50% of the perimeter of the premises/structure will be enclosed by walls, doors, windows, or structures that serve the purpose of walls, for example a dense hedge or solid fencing.

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If I intend to create an outside smoking area, what permissions do I need?

You do not have to provide a smoking area. However, if erecting any structure such as a canopy, awning or shelter, or changing the use of land or a building, you should consult with Planning Service and Building Control. If you intend to use an area outside your premises, for example, a public footpath, you should consult with the Department of Regional Development - Roads Service. If you serve alcohol you should also check if your liquor licence allows drinking in that area.

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What if I don't display No Smoking signs?

The law requires you to display ‘No smoking signs’ at the entrances to your premises and in smoke free vehicles. Failure to display ‘No Smoking’ signs may result in a Fixed Penalty of up to £200 or possible prosecution with a maximum fine of £1000.

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What will happen if I allow people to smoke in my premises?

  • The business owner, manager or person in control at the time of the offence may face prosecution and a possible fine of up to £2500.
  • People who are found to be smoking on your premises may receive a Fixed Penalty up to £50 or possible prosecution with a maximum fine of £1000.

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Where can I get further advice

Contact the Council’s Environmental Health Department on 028 30313100


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Some of my staff and customers wish to give up smoking, where can they get help?

The Smoker’s Helpline can direct you to local support services, they can be contacted on 0808 812 8008.

The following websites are also useful: and www.want2stop.inf

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