Smoking regulations in Northern Ireland
On 30 April 2007, virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in Northern Ireland became smokefree. It is against the law to smoke in these places.
Places where you can't smoke
Under the new regulations, it is against the law to smoke in:
- pubs, bars and nightclubs
- cafes and restaurants
- membership clubs
- indoor shopping centres
- offices and factories
- public transport
- work vehicles used by more than one person
Indoor smoking rooms are no longer allowed, so anyone who wants to smoke has to go outside.
- Questions about smokefree locations - Smokefree Northern Ireland
- Read the smokefree regulations - Smokefree Northern Ireland
Places where you can smoke
You can smoke:
- in your own home (private dwelling), except for any part that is used solely as a place of work by more than one person
- in your own car, as long as it is used primarily for private purposes.
- outdoors, in areas that are not 'substantially enclosed'.
However, some places do have a smokefree policy, like train platforms and sports stadiums.
There are some specific exemptions from the smokefree law, with strict conditions.
They allow designated rooms for smoking in certain types of places, including:
- bedrooms in hotels and guesthouses (but not dormitories)
- care homes and hospices
For more information about places that are exempt, and about smoking if you receive care in your own home or you work in other people's homes, see Space to Breathe.
Penalties and fines
Breaking the smokefree law is a criminal offence.
The fixed penalty notices and maximum fine for each offence are:
- smoking in smokefree 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
- failure to display no-smoking signs: a fixed penalty notice of £200 (reduced to £150 if paid in 15 days) for whoever manages or occupies the smokefree premises or vehicle, or a maximum fine of £1,000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court
Local councils are responsible for providing advice and enforcing the smokefree law in Northern Ireland.
If you see smoking in a smokefree area
You can contact your local council to report possible breaches of the law. The information will be followed up as appropriate.