Places where you can't smoke
Under the smoke-free regulations in Northern Ireland, 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 aren't allowed. If you smoke, you have to go outside.
Places where you can smoke
You can smoke:
- in your own home, except in any part that is used only 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'
Outdoor places where you can't smoke
Some outdoor places have a smoke-free policy. You must not smoke:
- on train platforms
- in certain sports stadia
- on Health and Social Care Trust-owned grounds including car parks
There are some specific exemptions to the smoke-free law, with strict conditions.
Designated rooms for smoking are allowed in certain types of places, including:
- bedrooms in hotels and guesthouses (but not dormitories)
- care homes and hospices
Penalties and fines
It is a criminal offence to break the smoke free law.
The fixed penalty notices and maximum fines for each offence are:
- 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
- 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 smoke-free premises or vehicle, or a maximum fine of £1,000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court
- permitting smoking in a smoke-free place or vehicle if you have management responsibilities in respect of either: a maximum fine of £2,500 if prosecuted and convicted by a court
Local councils are responsible for providing advice and enforcing the smoke free law in Northern Ireland.
If you see smoking in a smoke-free area
Contact the local council to report breaches of the smoke-free law. The council will investigate.