Call Us Today!   0333 999 7171   |
July 01, 2022

Are smoking shelters a legal requirement?

Parliament voted to ban smoking in all workplaces, public and work transport, pubs, clubs, membership clubs, cafes, restaurants and shopping centres in 2006. This ban came into force in England on July 1st 2007, making the whole UK smoke-free in indoor public places.

These new regulations stated that all places of work must be smoke-free at all times in all enclosed and substantially enclosed areas - even if people work there at different times of the day.

This legislation meant that many employers installed smoking shelters to accommodate their employees or visitors to their premises who wanted to smoke.

What is a smoking shelter?

A smoking shelter is a shelter that is provided to protect smokers from adverse weather conditions and harmful UV rays on a hot day. It cannot legally be a fully enclosed space.

Smoking shelters help encourage employees and visitors to smoke in a designated area, keeping the rest of the working area smoke-free. They can also help to keep building entrances clear and tidy.

Do I legally have to provide a smoking shelter?

No. Employers have no legal obligation to provide any smoking shelter for employees.

However, installing a smoking shelter on your premises may prove to be a wise move.

Without a smoking shelter, you don't know where your employees or customers will smoke, which may cause issues with other employees, such as complaints about second-hand smoke.

Smoking shelters are a natural draw for smokers, so in theory, all of the smoke should be kept in one designated area, which non-smokers can choose to avoid.

You will also improve the morale of employees who smoke, as they can enjoy their cigarettes while being protected from the environment - especially if you go for the Premier Smoking Shelter.

Do I need planning permission for a smoking shelter?


All permanent external structures require planning permission regardless of whether the smoking shelter is attached to a building (such as the Large Wall Mounted Smoking Shelter) or free-standing.

It might be wise to check if your smoking shelter needs Building Regulation Approval as well - it may do if it is more than 15 metres squared. 

How many sides can a smoking shelter have?

Smoking shelters must have openings to the outside and not be substantially closed or wholly enclosed to comply with regulations.

This means that any smoking shelter must not have fittings that enclose more than 50% of the shelter, which can be open or closed. Doors and windows are not considered openings.

How far away must a smoking shelter be from other structures?

No legal requirements cover how far away from other structures a smoking shelter must be. However, it is recommended that you leave a gap of at least 2 metres to avoid any ventilation issues if it is too close to any doors or windows.

How can Strip Curtains Direct help?

Strip Curtains Direct has a wide range of smoking shelters and accessories, including smoking bins.

If you have any questions about our Premises and Workplace Safety products, including our range of smoking shelters, please contact us by calling 0333 999 7171 or emailing