Safety Signs Blog

No smoking signs, what is the point?

19th October 2010 | No smoking signs

Posted by Darren Joint.

For years one of the UK’s biggest selling signs have been those that include the words ‘no smoking’. This was particularly the case in 2007 when the smoking ban came in. During the build up to the ban, printers and safety sign manufacturers were working round the clock. On the rare occasion that they were able to get some sleep they then spent most of the time dreaming about black and red smoking symbols!

However, the question we pose in today’s article is: why do we still sell so many no smoking signs? After all, all adults and businesses are now aware of the smoking ban.

No smoking. It is against the law to smoke in these premises sign

Only three years on from the ban’s introduction in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (and 4½ in Scotland) we all now take smoke-free buildings for granted. Today, when entering any commercial building you would simply not expect to find anyone smoking inside. With this being the case many customers ask: “do we still need to show the no smoking law sign on the door?”

In short the answer to this question is a very definite “yes”.

When the Smoke-Free Regulations 2007 came out in England, they clearly stated that failure to display no smoking signs in smoke-free premises and vehicles would result in:

  • a fixed penalty notice of £200 (discounted to £150 if paid within 15 days from the issue of a notice) or;
  • a fine by the court not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (up to £1000)

As there was no window of time placed on these penalties this is still very much the case today. This is backed-up by a quick search on Google revealing many local authorities in 2010 still issuing clear guidance on the do’s and don’ts of the smoking ban.

As the Government are no longer issuing free No smoking law signs to all workplaces, please note the following guidance:
  • The sign must be displayed in a conspicuous / prominent position at every public entrance to the premises.
  • The sign must be no smaller than A5 in size (210mm x 148mm)
  • The sign must feature the no smoking symbol which is a graphic depiction of a single burning cigarette enclosed within a red circle of a minimum of 70mm in diameter with a red bar across it.
  • The sign must contain the following words ‘No smoking. It is against the law to smoke on these premises’. (The word ‘premises’ can be exchanged for the type of premises it is eg It is against the law to smoke in this pub/restaurant/school.)
  • Business vehicles must also display the no smoking symbol. This should be 70mm in diameter.

Although businesses still regularly buy both of the above signs, we've seen a real growth in the use of ‘No smoking in this entrance’ signs. Although smoking outside the front entrance complies with the Smoke-free Regulations, it creates a deeply uninviting smoke cloud that staff and would-be customers must walk through to gain entry into the building. The purchasers of this sign clearly recognise that this can be extremely bad for business.

Whether the No smoking law sign or the no smoking in this entrance sign are used, in both cases, if the sign is sited outside, we would strongly advise you to order it in durable rigid plastic.


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