Consultation On Smoking Outside Hospital Buildings

A consultation on the introduction of a legally enforceable no-smoking area around hospital buildings has launched.

The consultation paper asks for views on the specific details required to extend the existing indoor smoking ban to a set distance outside hospital buildings.

The Scottish Parliament has passed legislation to establish no-smoking areas outside hospital buildings and to make it an offence to smoke there. However, in order for penalties to be imposed, three matters have to be determined;

  • the distance which will form the perimeter of the no-smoking areas outside a hospital building
  • the wording of no-smoking notices and how they’re displayed
  • whether there are any specific areas of land or buildings on hospital grounds where there is no need for a no-smoking area

As well as seeking views on the above, the consultation will ask for opinions on the use of Nicotine Vapour Products (NVPs) – including electronic cigarettes – on hospital grounds but outwith no-smoking areas. The answers will have no legal bearing but will provide information on the level of support for a Scotland-wide approach to the use of NVPs as an alternative to smoking on hospital grounds.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“The smoke-free grounds policy has had some impact but has not been sufficient to end the practice of smoking around hospitals.

“Smoking remains the most significant cause of ill health in Scotland  – leading to up to 100,000 hospitalisations per year and more than 9,000 premature deaths.

“Our hospitals need to be seen as accessible, open places which promote good health and lifestyle choices. Every aspect of life there should reflect that.”


The Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 amended sections of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 (“the 2005 Act”) to provide for offences to be introduced in respect of smoking around hospital buildings.

As a result, the 2005 Act now provides for the introduction of formal no-smoking areas outside hospital buildings and for offences of allowing smoking in these areas and of smoking in these areas.   The Act gives the Scottish Ministers powers to make secondary legislation (“Regulations”) to finalise the details before these provisions can be brought into force.

Prohibiting smoking outside hospital buildings consultation closes on 10 Jan 2020.

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