Smoking In Company Vehicles Is Illegal: What You Need To Know

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No smoking

Do you or any of your employees smoke in your company cars or vans? Either the employer or the employee should be aware that this could be costly. According to the Government, enclosed transport used by more than one person, has to be 100% smoking free or you can expect a fine.

Is it illegal to smoke in company cars?

Yes, it is illegal to smoke in company cars, and did you know that smoking within company cars has been illegal for over 13 years? Many workers still smoke in company cars even though it was banned under the Health Act in 2006. If officers spot your employees having a cigarette during working hours, your money could soon be flying out the window with the smoke. 

Employers are imposed to prevent your drivers from smoking

If you are an employer that fails to prevent your staff from smoking, you can in fact be in breach of the general health and safety law, and it will be costly. Therefore it is your duty as the boss to make sure people don’t smoke in enclosed work premises or shared vehicles.

Be fully compliant

Make sure you are fully compliant no matter whether you are driving a HGV, LGV or a regular car. According to GOV.uk, the easiest way to stay compliant is to keep all company vehicles smoke free at all times. The government also demands that a non-smoking sign or sticker is installed in the vehicle in the UK. This non-smoking sign has to be 70mm in diameter, but in Wales and Northern Ireland, ti has to be 75mm in diameter. The government also recommend that all company vehicles remove the ashtray to prevent smoking in the vehicles.

No smoking

What is the penalty for smoking in company vans?

If you are caught smoking by an officer, it could be expensive. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) explains that some of their members have received penalty charges after enforcement officers spotted their drivers smoking whilst driving. You could also be reported for the lack of signage or catching your coworkers smoking within the car.

Did you know that your company can be fined up to £2,500 just for for that one cigarette? This high amount will occur if the employer does not stop their workers from smoking in a common workplace, such as vehicles. You could even receive a penalty of up to £1,000 for not having a No-smoking sign within your vehicle alone. If an employee is caught smoking while driving, they could receive a fine up to £200 in the UK.

What about E-cigarettes?

The law does not apply for E-cigarettes, but there has already been examples of pictures being taken of employees vaping on their electronic cigarettes whilst in their company car. It is hard to tell the difference between vaping and real cigarettes, and Sergeant Carl Knapp in the Sussex Road Police Unit was interviewed in the Sun, saying that vaping is even worse. The steam given off from the electric cigarettes is far more intense than normal cigarettes, and the smoke can distract the driver, potentially causing fatal outcomes.

Are there any exceptions where smoking at work is allowed?

There are in fact some exceptions that makes it allowed to smoke within a company vehicle, but you should be careful because the rules are vague when it comes to proof and responsibility. For example, you can smoke in your company car if you are the only driver at all times, but this means that no other colleagues can co-drive with you. A driver is free to smoke a cigarette if they drive a cabriolet for work, witch is not very common within the industry. 

Smoking decreases the value of the vehicle

There is also another important factor as to why your employees should not be allowed to smoke whilst in your company cars. Smoking has a great impact on vehicles. The obvious one is physical damage to the interior and smell, which will not be resolved with a simple air-freshener or deep clean. Car dealerships report that dealing with cars and vans that have been smoked in, are much more work because the smoke gets ingrained in the fabric of the car and the climate control system. Before selling used cars from former smokers, it requires a professional and expensive valet clean and specialist tools to clean the air conditioning. Smoking will of course decrease the value of the car and the market is smaller, with less people interested in buying the vehicle.

Can you be sacked for smoking in a company vehicle?

Company cars and vans are classified as working space and it is illegal to smoke in the vehicles. Any serious company should consider smoking braking the law as gross misconduct. There are examples within the UK where workers have been sacked for smoking at work.