The government has published the regulations for next summer’s smoking ban, which starts on 1 July, 2007. The final regulations show little variance with the draft guidelines published in July, with government again stating that smoking will not be allowed in any structure that has a roof or if the walls in any structure were less than 50% exposed. In the regulations a “roof” is defined as any fixed or moveable structure or device which is capable of covering all or part of the premises including, for example, a canvas awning. The minimum requirement for signage, which the government said it will supply, is also set out in the guidelines. Specifications for signs include displaying the “no smoking symbol” at least 75mm in diameter, and that the sign is flat, rectangular and at least A5 in size. However, the government has not finalised the range of penalties it will put in place for those that break the ban. In the draft guidelines licensees who fail to stop smoking on their premises faced a maximum £2,500 fine, while those failing to display the proper signage would receive a £200 fixed penalty notice, which will be reduced to £150 if paid within 15 days. The draft legislation also said that smokers would receive a £50 fixed penalty notice if caught smoking in an enclosed public space. Mark Hastings, director of communications at the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “The final regulations are what we expected them to be and what the industry has been working towards over the last year. “They are now set in stone, so companies can now be fully prepared for the implementation of the ban on 1 July.” However, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has criticised the publication of the guidelines as being “too little, too late”, with operators concerns over local authorities differing interpretations of the rules unresolved. Nick Bish, chief executive of ALMR, said: “Operators at last have the chance to get on with planning how they will look after their customer, smokers and non-smokers alike, but there is still the gamble of investing twice – once for what they think they are allowed, and again to comply with the local enforcers’ interpretation of the rules. “This will be a particular burden on the smaller, individual businesses that are going to be at the front line of making a success of the ban.” To read the full regulations visit: www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/files/Smoke-free_Premises_and_Enforcement_Regulations.pdf