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What are the exemptions to the workplace smoking ban?

There are some exemptions under the new regulations. These mainly relate to situations where a person's workplace is also their, or someone else's, home.

This includes residential homes, long-term residential mental health units, prisons, offshore platforms and hospices. Although smoking is allowed in either a bedroom or a designated smoking room, there are strict conditions. The exemptions relate to residents and their guests only and workers will not be able to smoke on the premises (except off-shore platforms).

To gain these exemptions, the rooms have to be designated in writing by the person in charge of the premises as rooms where smoking is permitted. The rooms must not have a ventilation system which vents into other parts of the premises.

The POA (The Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, formerly the Prison Officers Association) has called for all prisons to be smoke-free workplaces. Prisoners are currently allowed to smoke in their cells and prison officers suffer from the effects of second-hand smoke. In September 2013 it was reported that the Prison Service planned to phase out the smoking exemption and that a smoke-free policy would be piloted in a number of prisons and then be followed by a rolling out of the policy to all prisons. However, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) announced in 2014 that while it still supported having smoke-free prisons in the future, this could not be “safely implemented at this time”.

There are also exemptions for theatre and film performances (where smoking is necessary for 'artistic' reasons), some research and testing facilities and specialist tobacconists. Some of these restrictions vary in Scotland.