Smoke Free NI

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Smoke Free NI

Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable ill health and premature death. We enforce tobacco legislation including the laws relating to underage sales of tobacco products to children, point-of-sale displays and smoke free workplaces and public places.

The Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 prohibits smoking on public transport, indoor public places and indoor workplaces including work vehicles and requires the display of no smoking signs with only a few very limited exceptions.

It is an offence to smoke in a smoke free place, to fail to display no smoking signage and for persons in charge of smoke free premises to fail to prevent people from smoking there. Enforcement action includes the issue of fixed penalties or prosecution.

It's against the law to smoke in most enclosed workplaces and public places, including:

  • offices, factories, bars, restaurants, cafés, hotels and other places of work
  • schools
  • hospitals
  • public places like shopping centres, church and community halls and health centres
  • most vehicles used for work purposes and public vehicles such as cars, lorries, vans, buses, taxis, trains and minibuses.

Under the Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, tobacco control officers and/or environmental health officers can visit premises to:

  • check they are complying with the law
  • offer help and advice
  • take legal action against offenders (where necessary).

Read more about the Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 (hyperlink to the Order:

Smoking in smoke free premises or work vehicles: a fixed penalty notice of £50 (reduced to £30 if paid in 15 days) for the person smoking, or a maximum fine of £1,000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court. Failing to prevent people from smoking in designated smoke-free places and vehicles, can lead to a maximum fine, upon conviction, of £2,500.

Smoke Free Signage

The legislation requires those responsible for smoke free premises to display at least one no-smoking sign in a prominent position at each public entrance. Signage is available free of charge from your local council office. To view the correct signage for premises  click here

Those responsible for smoke free vehicles are also required to display no smoking signage in each compartment of the vehicle where people sit. To view the correct signage for vehicles click here

Failure to display no-smoking signs may lead to a fixed penalty notice of £200 (reduced to £150 if paid in 15 days) for whoever manages or occupies the smoke free premises or vehicle, or a maximum fine of £1,000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.

Smoking Shelters

Some businesses provide smoking shelters for their staff and customers, if you wish to provide a shelter is must comply with the Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.

To comply with the Regulations they must not be wholly or substantially enclosed. In practice this means your smoking shelter must not have sides, including doors, windows or other structures that serve the purpose of walls (including those that can be opened or shut) that enclose more than 50% of the wall area of the shelter.

Shelters are also subject to planning, noise, licensing and building control legislation. When planning shelters be aware of the impact that noise from use of the shelter could have on nearby domestic premises. Such problems might arise from loudspeakers sited at shelters or noise breakout through doors connecting to areas where entertainment is provided. Noise can also be generated from the smokers congregated.

Ensure provision is made for disposal of butts and cigarette litter such as paper and packaging with a plentiful supply of ashtrays and litter bins. You should also contact the Planning Service to check if planning permission is required for the structure.

If you are considering providing a smoking shelter, contact a member of the Tobacco Control Team who will be happy to view plans for shelters or visit premises to discuss shelter proposals. This will ensure your proposals comply with the smoke free legislation and will avoid any costly structural alterations to finished non-compliant structures.

Policy Documents

Businesses are advised to develop a smoke free policy for their business. Guidance documents and smoke free policy templates for use by businesses can be downloaded below.

Smoke Free Policy
Smoke Free Policy - Hotel/guesthouse/Bed and Breakfast/Inn/Club/Hostel
Smoke Free Policy - Residential Homes
Smoke Free Bars, Clubs, Hotels & Restaurants - Guidelines for Staff

Help to Stop Smoking

Smokers interested in giving up can call the Smoker's Helpline free on 0800 858585 for friendly help and advice as well as details of local stop smoking support services.  Alternatively speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Complaints and Requests

If you require any advice, signage or would like to make a complaint, please contact a member of the Tobacco Control Team on the number below.


Information is also available online from

Space to Breathe
Smoke-free Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Planning Service