The enquirer went to a Christmas lights switch on in her city centre and was told that she could not smoke by a security officer because of health and safety. The area where she was standing is an unenclosed outdoor area with a temporary close-lapped decked floor surface situated within the main square.
There are no specific work-related health and safety risks from smoking in an outdoor public area.
Health and Safety at Work regulations do not apply to this situation. The Council does have a no smoking policy which applies in this area for summer events but not during the winter. The contracted employee was mistakenly quoting policy which applies at other times of year and was giving the wrong explanation for the ban.