The good news for smokers is that UK airport smoking areas can be found at some airports. However, the majority of UK airports do not allow smoking after you enter the terminal building or pass through airport security.
Most UK airports have designated smoking areas before you enter the terminal building but only some allow smoking after entering the terminal and going through airport security. The airports that do allow smoking past the security checkpoints are generally the smaller regional airports, not the larger, main international airports but there are a few exceptions.
UK airports class all kinds of smoking the same, be it smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, e-cigarettes or vape so you can only do these things in the designated smoking areas that are provided. Anywhere else is likely to bring the airport management down on you like a ton of bricks and may mean you being removed from the airport so you miss your flight.
Where smoking areas exist in UK and Irish airports, many are just little cages or shelters outside the departure lounges which are largely open to the elements.
But, in my experience, whatever the conditions may be like it never seems to phase the dedicated smoker. Whether it is raining, windy, freezing or snowing, these are not reasons to miss that last smoke before boarding a plane in most cases.
Check out the smoking situation at your UK or Irish departure airport below to see if you can have a last minute cigarette or vape after passing through airport security, or if you have to make do with a quick smoke before entering the terminal of your departure airport.
Full list of smoking areas at UK and Irish airports
In alphabetical order (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, City and Southend are under London):
Aberdeen Airport (ABZ)
There are smoking areas at Aberdeen Airport. Before airport security (or if waiting to meet people) you may smoke in the Granite City beer garden. After airport security there is a smoking shelter which is located on the way to gates 6-12.
You can see where the smoking areas are located on this Aberdeen Airport terminal map
Belfast International Airport (BFS)
Smoking (including the use of electronic cigarettes and vape) is not permitted in the terminal. However designated smoking areas are available outside the main terminal building.
But passengers can use the airside smoking facility which is situated after airport security beside the Lagan Bar. This is a dedicated external smoking area which has a charge of £1 to gain access.
Belfast City Airport (BHD)
Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the Belfast City Airport terminal building. There are smoking bins provided at the entrance doors to Belfast City Airport
Birmingham Airport (BHX)
From 29th May 2019, the Birmingham airport smoking area that was located in the terminal closed to allow for works to start on the departure lounge extension. This means that passengers cannot smoke or vape anywhere within the airport terminal building. There are designated smoking areas outside the front of the terminal, but once inside the terminal, smoking is prohibited.
There is a designated smoking area at Birmingham airport outside the terminal, before you check in and go through airport security, but that is obviously not as good as it was for smokers who until May 2019 were able to smoke after going through the security checkpoint.
As yet, there is no indication as to whether or not a smoking area will be provided at Birmingham airport once the departure lounge improvements have been completed. Unfortunately these improvements have been severely delayed due to the virus. The airport’s website in a statement about the terminal extension says “As part of the terminal extension works, the smoking area had to be taken out of service. As we were part way through these works the smoking area will not be reinstated in the near future.”
Bournemouth Airport (BOH)
There are two smoking areas at Bournemouth Airport. One is just outside the terminal before you go into the check-in area and good news for smokers, there is also one after you go through airport security into the departure lounge.
You can see where they are located on this Bournemouth Airport terminal map
Bristol Airport (BRS)
There is a designated smoking area outside the Bristol Airport terminal before you go into the check-in area. The good news for smokers is that there is also a smoking area once you pass through Bristol Airport security. It is located on the first floor towards the left hand side (facing the gates).
The smoking area Bristol Airport is shown on this Bristol Airport first floor terminal map
Cardiff Airport (CWL)
Cardiff Airport operates a no smoking policy inside any building. Designated smoking areas are available outside the terminal and airside in the departure lounge, next to Gate 2. Both are accessible for all departing flights.
E-cigarettes and vape are also not permitted inside the terminal building except as stated above.
Cork Airport (ORK)
There are dedicated smoking areas outside the main terminal building for smoking or vaping. Smoking and vaping are not permitted in the terminal building and there are no areas after security. Smoking and vaping is strictly prohibited on the airport apron.
Derry Airport (LDY)
You may smoke before you go inside the terminal but you cannot smoke anywhere inside the terminal building at Derry Airport. Once you pass through airport security you can no longer smoke until you reach your destination.
Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA)
Doncaster Sheffield airport has an outdoor smoking area to the front of the terminal building, before entering the arrivals and departures area. After going through airport security, there is also a covered, outdoor smoking area, on the ground floor next to gates 4 and 5.
Dublin Airport (DUB)
As well as being able to smoke before you enter the terminal building, there is a designated Dublin airport smoking area at The Garden Terrace bar in Terminal 1 Dublin Airport. This is located on the departures level after airport security on the upper floor.
East Midlands Airport (EMA)
The bad news for smokers traveling through East Midlands airport is that you cannot smoke anywhere within the terminal building, both before and after going through airport security. Although there is no East Midlands airport smoking area after entering the terminal, there are a number of designated smoking areas before you go into the terminal to have that last cigarette though.
Edinburgh Airport (EDI)
You cannot smoke anywhere within the terminal building at Edinburgh Airport. There is absolutely no Edinburgh Airport smoking area after security. Smoking inside in Scotland carries a £50 fine.
Exeter Airport (EXT)
Smoking and vaping (or the use of e-cigarettes), is not permitted in any part of Exeter Airport. However. it seems from the Exeter Airport website, if you are fortunate enough to gain access to the VIP Lounge that does have a designated smoking area.
Glasgow Airport (GLA)
You can only smoke in the Glasgow Airport smoking area which is in the designated area outside before you enter the terminal building. There are no smoking areas either before or after going though airport security which applies to e-cigarettes and vape too.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport (PIK)
You can only smoke outside the terminal building at Glasgow Prestwick Airport but not inside the building. Once you pass through the security checkpoint you cannot smoke until you reach your destination.
The smoking areas at Glasgow Prestwick Airport are shown on this Glasgow Prestwick Airport map
Guernsey Airport (GCI)
Smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes or vaping is not permitted anywhere after you enter the terminal building so you cannot smoke until you reach your destination.
Humberside Airport (HUY)
Humberside Airport prohibits smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes and vapes, within the airport terminal building and to the exterior of the terminal entrance. There is a smoking area is available a short distance from the terminal entrance.
Isle of Man Airport (IOM)
Isle of Man Airport operates a ‘No Smoking’ Policy inside all of its buildings. There is a dedicated smoking area outside the Terminal Building for those passengers who wish to smoke prior to entering the building. There are no smoking facilities after passing through airport security.
Inverness Airport (INV)
You can only smoke at Inverness Airport outside the terminal building before you check-in. Once you pass through the security checkpoint you cannot smoke until you reach your destination.
Jersey Airport (JER)
Smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes and vape, is not permitted inside the Terminals and only in designated areas outside the buildings. There are no smoking facilities in the airside departures lounge after passing through airport security.
Kerry Airport (KIR)
As far as I can find out there are no smoking facilities inside the terminal building or once you pass through airport security at Kerry Airport.
Knock Ireland West Airport (NOC)
There appears to be a designated smoking area in the departure area at Knock Airport. I am trying to find out the details and will update this once I know. Until then, assume you cannot smoke within the terminal.
Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA)
As well as designated smoking areas outside the terminal building there is one designated smoking area inside the Leeds Bradford Airport terminal. It is located after going through airport security in the departure lounge. It is well signposted in the departures area and you can access the smoking area both from the first floor and the ground floor.
Using electronic cigarettes and vape are permitted only in the designated smoking area.
Liverpool Airport (LPL)
Following numerous requests and passenger feedback Liverpool Airport has recently opened an outdoor smoking area in the departure lounge. This can be accessed from the lower level of the departure lounge. Just walk past the Kissing Gate Bar & Restaurant where it is clearly signposted.
This smoking area has secure entry and exit and also affords protection from bad weather and is complete with wall mounted ashtrays and a wall mounted heater. There is no seating in this smoking area. Any passengers with restricted mobility can also access this smoking area from Gate 44.
Liverpool Airport does not to allow passengers to use electronic cigarettes / vape within the terminal building. These users must also use the dedicated smoking area.
This map shows where the Liverpool Airport smoking area is located.
London City Airport (LCY)
Smoking is permitted in the designated smoking area outside the terminal building. Smoking is not permitted at all inside the terminal building or once you have passed through airport security. This includes the use of e-cigarettes and vape.
London Gatwick Airport (LGW)
There are Gatwick airport smoking areas located outside of both the south and the north terminals. Once you enter either terminal you will no longer be able to smoke until you arrive at your destination (but see below). This applies to any smoking at Gatwick, including e-cigarettes and vape.
Although there is no Gatwick north terminal smoking area, there is one exception it seems as there is one smoking area Gatwick Airport South Terminal. The new “My Lounge” area in the south terminal has an outside terrace with a small smokers area. You will probably have to pay to enter this lounge though so it may not be worth it for a quick smoke.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
The only Heathrow Airport smoking areas you will find are outside the terminal buildings. Once you enter any of the 5 terminals at Heathrow you will no longer be able to smoke cigarettes, e-cigarettes or vape until you get to your destination with the exception of terminal 4.
It seems there is a little know smoking area in Heathrow Terminal 4. Look at for a smoking sign which is near the Burberry shop.
London Luton Airport (LTN)
There is a designated sheltered Luton airport smoking area outside the departure area of the terminal building. This is the only place you can smoke at Luton Airport as everywhere inside, both before and after passing through airport security are no smoking areas.
London Southend Airport (SEN)
As with most airports, you can smoke in the designated smoking area in front of the terminal but nowhere within the terminal, either before or after passing through airport security.
London Stansted Airport (STN)
There is no smoking lounge at Stansted Airport or a designated smoking area except outside the front of the terminal building. Once you enter the terminal you will be unable to smoke until you reach your destination. You cannot use e-cigarettes or vape inside the terminal building either.
Manchester Airport (MAN)
There are a number of designated curbside Manchester airport smoking areas available before going into any of the terminals. Inside the terminals smoking facilities are as follows:
- Terminal 1 Smoking Area – Once you’ve checked-in and made your way through security in Terminal 1, you’ll be able to use the outdoor airside smoking area which is located near the food court.
- Terminal 2 Smoking Area – The airside smoking area in Terminal 2 is located near Gate 212 and can be reached easily once you’ve passed through security.
- Terminal 3 Smoking Area – there are no outdoor smoking areas in the airside section Terminal 3
Newcastle Airport (NCL)
There appears to be a smoking area on a terrace behind Bar 11 which you may need to buy a code to get into. You can smoke before you enter the terminal as in most airports.
Newquay Cornwall Airport (NQY)
Newquay Airport has one designated smoking area, which is an outside shelter next to the arrivals building. There are no smoking or vaping areas once passengers have passed through the security screening area.
Norwich Airport (NWI)
Norwich International Airport has a smoke-free policy and smoking is only permitted in the smoking shelter that is located at the front of the terminal. There are no facilities to smoke after passing through airport security.
Shannon Airport (SNN)
Shannon Airport is a smoke-free airport in line with Public Health Legislation and smoking is only permitted in designated areas outside the front of the terminal building and in a specially provided location adjacent to the airport Transit Lounge/Departures Area. Similarly, Electronic cigarettes and vape cannot be used within the airport premises.
Southampton Airport (SOU)
Smoking is not permitted inside Southampton airport buildings. There is a designated smoking area outside the terminal, on the central forecourt. You will not be able to smoke once you have passed through security control into the departure lounge.
The use of electronic cigarettes / vape is not permitted within the Terminal Building or traveling to or from aircraft (walking or by bus). Customers are permitted to use electronic cigarettes outside of the terminal building before security only.
Teesside Airport (MME)
Also known as Durham Tees Valley Airport.
There is no Teesside Airport smoking area except outside the front of the terminal building. Once you enter the terminal you will be unable to smoke until you reach your destination. You cannot use e-cigarettes or vape inside the terminal building either.
UK and Irish airports with smoking areas after airport security
|Aberdeen||Smoking shelter located on the way to gates 6-12|
|Belfast International||External smoking area by the Lagan Bar|
|Bournemouth||Follow the signs in the departure lounge|
|Bristol||First floor towards the left hand side|
|Cardiff||Next to Gate 2|
|Doncaster||Next to gates 4 and 5|
|Dublin||The Garden Terrace bar in Terminal 1|
|Exeter||Only by the VIP lounge|
|Leeds Bradford||Follow the signs|
|Liverpool||Located near the Kissing Gate Bar|
|London Gatwick||South terminal terrace of My Lounge (paid)|
|London Heathrow||T4 – smoking sign near the Burberry shop|
|Manchester||T1 – outside near food court|
T2 – near Gate 212
If you vape and were wondering if you can vape on a plane and how to carry your vape stuff then this article will answer your questions (note: it is not as straightforward as you might imagine due to batteries and liquid rules) – Can you vape on a plane? The rules regarding flying with a vape or e-cigarette
Tips for surviving a flight without smoking
There are a few ways to get through the hours of waiting for a flight and the actual flight itself if you are a heavy smoker. Ways to get your nicotine fix without smoking include:
- Buy some nicotine patches. You can cut these up and use a half or a quarter, depending on how much nicotine you feel you need.
- Buy some nicotine gum to chew which should help. It has the added advantage of you actually doing something to gain the nicotine fix, which nicotine patches don’t.
The advice on using nicotine gum to get the most benefit is to chew it until the nicotine taste arrives. Once you have that taste stop chewing and place it between your lips and your gums (a bit like people who use chewing tobacco). Nicotine gets absorbed into your blood stream only by absorption through the skin of your mouth.
- Some people manage to survive by sucking on lollipops. It seems it is the act of actually having something in (and out) of their mouth that helps distract them.
If you forget to buy nicotine gum or patches before you leave home, many airport stores sell them.
Whatever you do, make sure you are not tempted to try having a quick smoke (or vape) in the aircraft toilets. The detector will catch you out and you will find yourself with a big fine and probably a ban from flying on that airline again.
Research Article: Nicotine chewing gum as a substitute for smoking
Why are there no smoking areas in airports?
Many countries have introduced bans on smoking inside public buildings over the past 20 years so this applies to airports too.
Can you smoke in European airports?
Many airports in Europe have enclosed smoking areas within terminal buildings that use extractor fans to disperse the smoke outside rather than within the building itself.
Do airports sell cigarettes?
Yes, you can buy cigarettes in most airports in stores and in Duty Free stores (if traveling internationally), even if you can’t actually smoke them at the airport.