Shisha bars and smoking shelters

If you are a business and want to operate a shisha bar or create a smoking shelter, you will need to do so legally.

Complying with legislation

There are certain legislations you must comply with so that you can operate legally:

The Health Act 2006 states that ‘smoking refers to smoking tobacco and anything which contains tobacco or smoking any other substance’. Its purpose is to protect the public and workers from second-hand smoke by keeping indoor public places and workplaces (including work vehicles), smoke-free.

The Smoke-free legislation (the ‘smoking ban’) bans smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces and relates to any smoking product, whether it contains tobacco or not. The legislation is only concerned with smoking tobacco and other ‘lit’ materials (when combustion or burning is taking place).

You should contact the Health and Safety Team if you need further advice:

Check if there are potential planning issues

Legal businesses that have shisha bars or smoking shelters will have to have an outdoor area for their customers to smoke in.

There may be planning issues for structures or areas used for this purpose, so you should contact the Planning Team for advice before building any structures or areas.

Get help from the Planning Team

Understand where smoking is allowed

Smoking, including shisha smoke, is only allowed where:

  • there is no roof (provided that adjoining walls, structures etc do not restrict air movement)
  • or, there is a roof, but more than half of the total wall area (including other structures, hedges etc) that makes up the perimeter is permanently open

To comply with the law, it is recommended that any smoking area has enough air movement to:

  • prevent any person from being exposed to second-hand smoke
  • avoid the possibility of second-hand smoke entering smoke-free areas of the premises

This is recommended to avoid complaints.

Creating and operating a shisha bar or smoking shelter

  • shisha bars or smoking shelters should not be too close to walls or other structures which may prevent proper airflow and may effectively make the smoking area ‘substantially enclosed’. It is recommended, therefore, that the shisha bar or smoking shelter be sited at least 1.5 metres away from walls or other structures
  • if you are using permanently fixed radiant heaters, they must be positioned so they cannot be tampered with, or pose a danger to those within the shisha bar or smoking shelter. You must fully consider all the health and safety implications. It would be preferable that the heating levels can only be altered by trained employees
  • it is recommended that you place at least one two-litre water fire extinguisher as close as possible to the nearest door/exit to the main building from the shisha bar or smoking shelter

What are the offences?

Being in control of or allowing people to smoke in an enclosed space, such as an illegal shisha bar or smoking shelter, is an offence. You could be fined and ordered to cover the Council’s costs if found guilty of any of the following:

Failure to display a 'No smoking' sign

  • a fine of up to £1,000
  • or a £200 fixed penalty notice for the people who manage or occupy the business premises

Smoking in a 'No smoking' area

  • a fine of up to £200
  • or a penalty notice of £50 for the person smoking

Failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place

  • up to £2,500 fine for the people that manage or occupy the business premises
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Need help? 

If you need more help or have a question, you can contact the Health and Safety Team at