Aug 18, 2021

What Events are Banning Smoking?

By James Powley


Some of the information in the following blog is based on external, third party sources and is for educational/informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to be representative of the products sold on this website.


If you’re a smoker and someone who loves going to events, you’ll know that some events have banned smoking in the past. The best option when considering what events are banning smoking is to quit smoking altogether, that way the need to find a location to smoke at an event doesn’t even occur to you. However, have you wondered if there are any events that still allow smoking? It might not feel like it, with new restrictions often dictating where people can smoke outside.

The ban on smoking in enclosed public places and workspaces has been in place for almost a decade and a half now, and for the most part, everyone knows the rules around indoor usage. However, the rules around smoking at outdoor events are usually set by the event organiser, and restrictions can vary from event to event, making it a little confusing at times. Take festivals, for example. Many UK music festivals prohibit smoking in areas like big arenas, with smoking only allowed outside – or in some cases, in special zones.

In their rules and guidelines, some festivals ban smoking in all “enclosed public areas”. However, it’s not always clear what this definition includes. It’s easy enough to understand that you can’t smoke in a restaurant, for instance, but what about tents and gazebos? Put simply, enclosed places have a ceiling or roof and are wholly enclosed (apart from doors, windows and passageways). Meanwhile, substantially enclosed areas include those with a ceiling or roof but permanent openings in the walls. Temporary structures like tents and marquees fall into this category.[1] However, it is important that you always refer to the specific event guidelines or perhaps even reach out to the event organisers to clarify where smoking is permitted.

So, which events are banning smoking? We take a look at a range of popular events and festivals to see what their rules are.



Glastonbury is one of the biggest festivals in the UK. Like many others, the festival bans smoking in enclosed public areas – this includes the pre-erected campsites at the festival. While smoking outdoors at Glastonbury is generally permitted, it’s important to note that there are entirely non-smoking zones on the festival grounds.



For the last decade, the Munich beer festival Oktoberfest has had some stringent rules around smoking. In a referendum in 2010,[2] residents of the German state of Bavaria voted in favour of a law banning smoking in bars, cafés, restaurants and even the beer tents at Oktoberfest. For those who want to smoke, there are designated smoking areas available.[3]



Wimbledon is one of the highlights of the summer – not just in the UK but worldwide. However, smokers who are attending aren’t able to light up wherever and whenever they like. Attendees are not allowed to smoke or vape around the courts, in buildings, in queues, or on the Aorangi Terrace, so those that attend have to find other places to go like designated smoking areas or outside the stadium.[4]


The Proms

A huge annual occasion celebrating the best of classical music, the Proms are held at London’s Royal Albert Hall. It’s against the law to smoke in the hall, and using e-cigarettes is not permitted either, per the Royal Albert Hall’s terms and conditions.[5] While there’s still a smoking gallery that exists in the hall, it’s no longer used for smoking and the hall is an entirely non-smoking building.[6]


Edinburgh Fringe Festival

At the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and throughout Scotland, as a rule, smoking is not allowed in public indoor spaces, including venues. Smoking in an enclosed space could see both the visitor and the venue at risk of a fine.


Events in Manchester and Newcastle

Five councils in England have banned smoking outside venues and on the pavements outside restaurants and cafes, including the tables belonging to these restaurants. This is part of a wider plan to make the country smoke-free by 2025.[7] The councils with this ban are: Newcastle City, Manchester City, Durham County, Northumberland County and North Tyneside.


How to Plan Your Event Around These Bans

If smoking bans at events like these are particularly strict, could vaping be an alternative? The rules around vaping can differ and events would need to have their own guidelines in place. So, vaping or using heated tobacco could be a potential alternative.

Indeed, your best option is to stop smoking altogether. If you can’t stop, it may be worth asking whether you’re able to go without smoking for the time you’re spending at the event in question? If not, are you able to leave the site for a smoke and then get back in? It could be worth checking the event’s FAQs or dropping them an email to find out – some events will be more strict than others.

Since the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces was implemented, environment-specific smoking bans have become more common, with events and festivals also amending their rules and guidelines.

This is just an example of the types of events that are banning smoking and is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should give you a better idea of what to expect at some of the most popular events around. Take a look at some more information about the rules around vaping in public places and always make sure to check what the event-specific guidelines are before you go.









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