Smoking in public

Since 1 July 2007, Medway has been smokefree, which means that the buildings in which people work, relax and socialise are free of smoke caused by tobacco. This includes:

  • restaurants
  • cafés
  • pubs
  • clubs
  • libraries
  • museums
  • offices
  • shops
  • leisure centres

Vehicles that are used by more than one person, such as taxis and shared cars and vans are also smokefree.

Other than your own home, very few places are exempt.

Smoking signs

All buildings and vehicles that have to be smokefree have to display signs, which must be at least A5 (148mm by 210mm) in size at the entrance to buildings and premises and show the international no smoking sign and supporting text. Signs within premises must display the smoking symbol at least 70mm in diameter.

Failing to display signs can lead to a fine or prosecution.

Smoking shelters

If you decide to put up a smoking shelter on your premises, it will need planning permission.

Smoking shelters for offices, shops, bars and restaurants:

Planning permission is needed for all smoking shelters, including:

  • permanent smoking shelters that are outside, whether free-standing or attached to an existing building
  • awnings, canopies and blinds attached to buildings
  • tables and chairs on public land, for example pavements or private forecourts
  • any land that is used as a beer garden or yard that is not part of the business premises
  • areas of decking
  • stub-out bins in front of premises.

Planning permission is not normally needed for portable free-standing awnings, canopies and space heaters (for example, in beer gardens and yards that are part of the existing business premises).

Smoking shelters for industrial and warehouse buildings, schools, colleges, universities and hospitals:

Sometimes planning permission may not be needed for smoking shelters at premises such as these.

The smoking shelter’s proposed size, location and the size of any previous extensions or outbuildings that may have been put on the site, will determine whether planning permission is needed.

Please send full details of the size and location of the proposed shelter to Medway Council so we can informally advise you if planning permission is needed.

Report smoking in public

If you see a person smoking where they should not, you can politely tell the person in charge of the building or vehicle and request that they deal with the situation.

If the issue isn't resolved, you can report the incident to Medway Council on 01634 333 222, giving the time and date of the incident, where the person was smoking and any action you saw the staff take.