At the moment, the situation in both England and Wales is governed by the Health Act of 2006 and regulations published in connection with it. The Health (Wales) Act 2017 will shortly come into force establishing a different regime here in Wales. Broadly speaking this legislation restates the smoke-free provisions of the Health Act with some minor modifications but it also brings additional settings into the smoke-free regime including outdoor care settings for children, school grounds, hospital grounds and public playgrounds.
Under the legislation it’s a criminal offence to smoke in a smoke-free place just as it is under the Health Act with employers having to put up no smoking signs and take reasonable steps to prevent smoking and impose sanctions. This legislation doesn’t extend to e-cigarettes though some premises owners may decide to impose a voluntary ban on these as well.
If you operate in one of those settings where staff currently smoke outside your premises this is where this legislation is now going to bite. You’ll need to think about updating your policies to ensure that they’re clear to staff what the rules are. For example, if you run a children’s care setting staff may currently use an outdoor smoking shelter but going forward if there are any children on the premises they will not be able to smoke outdoors and this is bound to have ramifications for things like break times and staff who smoke wanting to leave the premises altogether for example, during a lunch break, so that they can smoke elsewhere. This is bound to lead to some employers having issues with the related rubbish in the immediate vicinity of their premises. You will need to think about things like providing litter bins.