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September 06, 2005

The Smoking Ban in Pubs

Some people will twist anything won’t they?

Anything less than a total ban would threaten the lives of hundreds of workers exposed to "second hand smoke", it argued. Brendan Barber, the TUC General Secretary, said there appeared to be a lack of unity among ministers over the policy.

"The signs are that some ministers understand that this is an opportunity to make the most important improvement in public and employee health in a generation," he said.

"The rest of the government should listen, be brave and enjoy the public support that a clear policy will win."

A survey of 1,250 bar managers by Cancer Research and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) showed yesterday that many pubs would stop serving food to ensure smoking could continue.

So, a survey shows that people would change their behaviour so as to continue to allow smoking in pubs. This then shows that banning smoking in pubs has public support?

Oh, and didn’t JD Weatherspoon just announce that profits had fallen....because of their non-smoking pubs?

September 6, 2005 in Idiotarians | Permalink

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Comments

Whatever you think of a smoking ban in pubs, it's clearly ridiculous to differentiate between pubs depending on whether or not they serve food. Apart from anything else you then have to define food and employ inspectors to adjudicate, etc. etc.

However, it is highly unlikely that any pub which does sell food proper will stop because of the smoking ban - it is just too profitable (compared to selling drinks) as the rise of pub food in recent years demonstrates. More likely that pubs which sell food only halfheartedly (e.g. stotties in county Durham) will drop these as they don't generate much income.

JD Weatherspoon's figures certainly reflect a short term drop because they have banned smoking. However, this doesn't mean that they won't increase business in longer term as it gradually attracts new customers who like the smoke-free atmosphere. Time will tell and no conclusions can be reached yet.

Posted by: HJHJ | Sep 6, 2005 9:02:17 AM

"..it's clearly ridiculous to differentiate between pubs depending on whether or not they serve food..you then have to define food and employ inspectors to adjudicate.."

Ah, yes, the Labour Party Job Creation Scheme in action! More laws = more pen pushers.

Posted by: JuliaM | Sep 6, 2005 9:44:47 AM

How many pubs are closed because only catering for smokers?

How massive losts would follow, if ireland would introduce smoking in pubs? (75% are non-smokers, they would stay at home)

Of course it will increase business, because a pub is then a place for smokers and non-smokers, and everyone come in. Additionally it supports the tourism of course, like seen in ireland.

And no pub can pay the rates from smoke in the air (which also forces a lot of customers to stay at home)...

Posted by: Martin | Sep 6, 2005 9:53:34 AM

And it's mad to seperade food from non-food pubs, and allow smoking in non-food pubs. Every pub is a workplace, and is smoking allowed in an office only because "no food is served" there? Look to ireland and introduce a simple, and sucessful law.

Posted by: Martin | Sep 6, 2005 9:56:41 AM

Anyone who tries to stop me from smoking is a fascist. Simple as. We're an oppressed minority, us smokers, maintaining an ancient tradition.

Oh, and smokers drink more and are therefore better pub customers. Fact. (At least, as much of a fact as all the other nonsense that's spouted about smoking bans, passive smoking and the rest - from both sides of the argument.)

Posted by: Nosemonkey | Sep 6, 2005 10:20:57 AM

Sorry, but who tries to stop you from smoking? The irish smokers are free, they can smoke 500 cigarettes a day, so where is the problem?

Smokers of course have less money to give out, and additionally they cause smoke in the air, so a lot of customers stay away. A lot of smokers only went into bars or pubs to smoke – but they don't drink or eat anything.

These smoking fanatics must be stopped from polluting the workplace of others. Simple. Of course they can smoke, but they should keep their noses out of life and health of others in bars und pubs.

Posted by: Martin | Sep 6, 2005 10:29:34 AM

Nosemonkey maybe correct that smokers drink more individually, but there are fewer of them than non-smokers and most would probably drink in pubs whether they're allowed to smoke or not. It is arguable that the extra non-smokers possibly attracted to pubs by a smoking ban may increase sales overall.

There is a respectable libertarian argument against a ban, but on health and safety grounds there is a strong argument in favour too.

Posted by: HJHJ | Sep 6, 2005 12:18:49 PM

There is a libertarian argument for a ban: everybody should have the freedom to choose, without a ban some people decide about others and force them to smoke. At the moment, people, who have choosen not to smoke are discriminated. A smoking ban at the workplace is a libertian and democratic law, because everybody can decide by his own, and people who like to smoke, can still smoke.

Smokers defenitely have less money to give out: they cannot spend all their money in a pub, because they dozens of money for their cigarettes.

Posted by: Martin | Sep 6, 2005 12:30:01 PM

Let the market decide, why legislate? The whole banning smoking in pubs thing is akin to legislating to force the Royal Opera House to overlay all their perfomances with happy hardcore drums - it's forcing the pub trade to appeal to a consumer base which they evidently have no wish to appeal to. If there's genuinely a demand for non-smoking pubs, they will arise, just as a drum 'n' bass version of Carmen will likely crop up the moment people want it.

But more importantly, why should a bunch of lightweight killjoys who never go to pubs because they're too damn wimpy to handle a tiny bit of fag smoke be able to override centuries of tradition and piss off the core pubgoing population at the same time?

Posted by: Nosemonkey | Sep 6, 2005 1:05:29 PM

Martin

There is no libertarian argument in favour of a smoking ban. The pubs are private property and policy on smoking should be decided by the owner. Just because you or I dislike smoking does not mean we have the right to force a different policy on the owner.

If you use the democratic process to force pub owners into behaviour that you find acceptable, don't complain when somebody else does the same to you on your property.

Posted by: BishopHill | Sep 6, 2005 1:10:18 PM

Of course pubs are pivate property, but like you can't hire staff and let them work in polluted air, you can't shoot anybody in your "private property". You can't put arsen into the drinks of guests in your "private property" and you can't urinate in the kitchen of your "private" property.

Nobody can create a "private property" and afterwards, because its so private, hurt or shoot at others in there. You can do that at you own private home, but of course not at the workplace of others, or when hurting others.

And you also can't sit in your "private car" and build crashes and kill others.

It's a about staff protection.

Its a libertarian argument because everybody has the right for a smoke-free workplace and the right to decide by his own: office workers like bar or pub-staff. Simple. A supermarket owner cannot decide to allow smoking, so why should a bar owner be allowed to? In both cases there is staff.

And in Italy – where smoking rooms are allowed – nobody requests them. Also the smokers like to sit together with their non-smoking friends.

Of course, pub-owners who have staff, cannot decide about their lives. You can do what you want in your private room, but of course you cannot hire staff and then pollute their air with the most dangerous indoor pollution caused by smoke.

And it's really libertarian that some smoking-fanatics cannot longer decide about others – why dictate adults? They can decide by their own and don't need smoking-nannys who force them (staff) to second-hand smoke. So a smoking ban at the workplace is necessary so everybody can choose.

Of course it's not a "business decision" because it's also no business decision that an owner has the right to hurt staff, and risk cancer.

Nosemonkey:
What has toxic indoor smoke to do with a pub? Look to ireland, the people love their irish pub. When introducing smoke their, the pubs would go out of business. A pub means friends, meeting place, smokers, non-smokers, drink but not smoke in the air. Simple.

And in irish pubs the centuries of tradition are always on – no one miss the smoke there, and pubs are busy.

"Tradition" does not come from cancer.

Give the people the freedom to choose – ban smoking at indoor workplaces. People or business owners who want to force others to smoke, and who want to decide about life and health of their staff should walk north-corea, where such dictatorship is allowed.

Posted by: Martin | Sep 6, 2005 2:52:26 PM

I am still waiting to see a conclusive, peer reviewed, study that proves secondary smoking causes cancer.

Lets ban farting in public places!

Posted by: Anoneumouse | Sep 6, 2005 3:28:06 PM

Martin - what about the right to choose to work or drink in a smoke-filled environment? At the moment there's perfect choice - if you don't want to work/drink somewhere smoky, get a job/go drink in one of the 99.9% of places where it's already banned (and where, in 90% of cases, you'll also earn a lot more money than by hanging around pouring pints).

By the by, methinks you may be less than familar with the typical atmosphere of British pubs (and Irish ones before the ban) - drink-soaked and smoke-filled is/was the norm, and everyone was having a great time. Non-smokers expect it, and have every right not to enter if they don't like the smell or are worried about their health.

(Of course, it was all far better in the days before wimmin started coming into pubs with their obsession with dry white wine, alcopops and cleanliness, but if I start down that route all hell will break loose.)

Posted by: Nosemonkey | Sep 6, 2005 4:03:57 PM

Martin, If you seriously meant this, it's proof that you are no libertarian and have little understanding of the concept: "There is a libertarian argument for a ban: everybody should have the freedom to choose, without a ban some people decide about others and force them to smoke."

Nosemonkey, "Let the market decide, why legislate? - it's forcing the pub trade to appeal to a consumer base which they evidently have no wish to appeal to. If there's genuinely a demand for non-smoking pubs, they will arise..." Now THAT's more libertarian.

I've also seen comments above(HJHJ) to the effect that when the proposed prohibition is introduced pubs will prefer to adhere to the ban and continue selling their more lucrative food.

Just imagine, if all pubs in town decide on a ban, one of them will think, "If we stop serving food and allow smoking we can charge £10/pint. To hell with the food we'll go back to smoking". Thus we will get an equilibrium satisfying the market.

If only the social planners could leave it there, but of course they won't.

Posted by: John East | Sep 7, 2005 12:07:47 AM