Smoking regulations in Northern Ireland

Most enclosed public places and workplaces in Northern Ireland are smoke free. It is against the law to smoke in these places. You could be fined for smoking in enclosed public places.

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

Exceptions

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
  • prisons

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: 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.  

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