Policy actions  2 of 2

Smoking around hospital buildings

Hospitals need to be accessible, open places which promote good health and lifestyle choices.  

For that reason, we have taken action to restrict smoking around hospital buildings as part of our Tobacco Control Action Plan.  

Smoke-free perimeter around hospital buildings 

We have introduced a law making it an offence to smoke within 15 metres of an NHS hospital building. This came into force on 5 September 2022.

Under the regulations, anyone who smokes in the perimeter area can face: 

  • a £50 on-the-spot penalty (reduced to £30 if paid within 15 days), or  

  • a £1,000 fine if the offence leads to prosecution 

Guidance and resources

 We have produced guidance and resources for NHS staff to support the law and explain to staff what it means for them (available on staff portals), and for enforcement officers.

There is also a factsheet for members of the public.

Background to the smoke-free perimeter 

The no-smoking perimeter law builds on the voluntary smoke-free hospital grounds policy introduced in 2015.  

The smoke-free grounds policy had some impact but was not enough to end the practice of smoking around hospitals. With no sanctions to enforce the voluntary ban, hospital managers have been unable to effectively challenge anyone refusing to comply other than asking them to leave the grounds. 

The Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 amended sections of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 to establish no-smoking areas outside hospital buildings and to make it an offence to smoke there. 

Who we have consulted 

We ran a public consultation on plans to introduce a legally enforceable no-smoking area around hospital buildings, between 2019 and 2020. 

Analysis of responses showed that most respondents were in favour of the introduction of a perimeter ban.  

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