Is it possible to say "Free smoking area"

Hi. “smoke-free” is a common term means “non-smoking”. But I couldn’t find “free smoking” on the Net. I think “free smoking” means the opposite of “non-smoking”. However, I want to know if native speakers use this expression “free smoking”.

In the U.S., I don’t think I’ve seen something referred to as free smoking area…usually just smoking area. I don’t think the phrase “free smoking area” sounds weird though.

Never heard it in Canada.

Thanks for the reply.

Thanks eric. So “free smoking” doesn‘t sound natural.

“free smoking area” is perfectly natural and acceptable IF you intend to mean something completely different. This phrase means an area for smoking that can be accessed at no cost.

Often, when there are 2 nouns in a row, the first acts as an adjective for the second: a “dog park” is a park for dogs. In your example, “smoking” is a noun, the act of smoking tobacco. It describes the area, a smoking area. “Free” also describes the area, not the noun-as-adjective “smoking”. In the same way that “big” in “big blue bus” describes the bus, not the blue.

There is an area. It is a free area. It is a smoking area. It is a free smoking area.

The meaning changes back to what you you intend if you say “smoking free area”, though. That’s a variation of “smoke-free area”. I don’t know whether it should be “smoking-free area”, but that probably would make it more clear. There are rules for the order of adjectives in English. We natives cannot cite those rules – we just know what sounds correct for the intended meaning.


“free smoking” alone sounds odd. “free smoking area” to Khardy’s point sounds normal, but may not be as obvious what the intent is.

To be honest, there’s so few smoking areas anymore I’m not sure what they may be called =)

Thanks for the detailed explanation. I understood😄

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Wow your explanation is amazingly put!

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