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« EDM 406 - how you can help | Main | Effect of tobacco display bans »

MP wants smoking ban review

This afternoon Conservative MP Brian Binley issued the following press release:

Brian Binley, MP for Northampton South, has tabled an Early Day Motion calling for a review of the smoking ban to stop the closure of so many pubs and clubs.

Over 2,000 pubs and clubs have gone to the wall in the last year and seven pubs a day are going out of business. They are under massive pressure to keep afloat and the smoking ban has further impacted on their plight.

When the bill was implemented on 1st July 2007 the Government said it would review the ban in three years' time, a review which now does not appear to be forthcoming.

Brian said: "Many pubs and clubs are finding it difficult dealing with the economic situation. The smoking ban has further impacted on many businesses and the trade is really struggling.

"I want to consider a balanced and proportionate amendment to the legislation which allows for segregated smoking rooms or areas within pubs, bars and clubs, provided that effective smoke extraction systems of an authorised standard are installed."

The EDM calls on the Government to conduct a thorough review, supported by consultation with all parties and affected business sectors on the impact the smoking ban has had on public houses and private members clubs.

Brian said: "I understand that the Government has no plans to review the smoking ban at the present time and that makes me angry. The then Health Minister promised that a review would be held three years after the implementation of the ban but the Government is now saying that it has no plans to do so. That denial is simply unacceptable.

"I have tabled this EDM to put pressure on the Government to look into the impact the ban is having on the pubs and clubs trade and to conduct an urgent review.

"The EDM also calls for any changes to the smoking ban legislation to be made on the basis of evidence, fairness and proportionality whilst recognising the importance of pubs and clubs to the nation's social life and community wellbeing."

ConservativeHome has the story HERE. Very important that you comment.

Reader Comments (54)

Thank goodness for a voice of reason in the Westminster wilderness. I've been over to Conservative Home and left a comment - so far the only smoking ban enthusiast is someone calling themselves Ealing Tory but everyone else, myself included has come down good and hard on this so-called Tory.

July 6, 2010 at 19:19 | Unregistered CommenterBarking Spider

God bless Brian Binley, a sane voice emerges from the fog of opression at last.
Its encouraging to see someone poking the ashes of this draconian, unjust, unfair, minority marginalising thrown to the wilderness smokers of this politically incorrect ban and who is willing to whip the asses of this constipated new govt who seem to be following in the footsteps of the disastrous Blair leftie administration.

July 6, 2010 at 19:39 | Unregistered Commenterann

I think half the posters on this site are asleep during the day. I mentioned this on the Ireland blog hours ago!!!

July 6, 2010 at 19:42 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

This appears to be our best hope yet for an amendment and I think it has legs.

I personally think that if the amendment is passed there should be a "Be a considerate smoker" campaign to go with it. God bless Elaine on Conservative Home for her tolerance we do not want to alienate decent people like this.

"Writing as someone who hates the smell of cigarette smoke and as someone in whom migraines are induced as the result of cigarette smoke - I say Mr Binley is absolutely correct."

July 6, 2010 at 20:03 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

I really hope something gets done, it is totally sucking the life out of the pubs, on Saturday just gone, a group of friends and I visited my local once thriving packed to the rafters pub, and as 5 out of the 8 of us are smokers, we sat outside in the beer garden (fortunately it was a lovely hot evening) - now this is no exageration when I say that come 9pm, we were the only people there, I can't see how that pub can survive much longer if the smoking ban remains the same as now, surely its time too amend the ban, I am all for keeping the ban in other public places, but think that some amendments need to be made for public houses, nightclub venues and private clubs

July 6, 2010 at 20:05 | Unregistered CommenterKay

Is there something wrong with the ConHome page? I've just tried logging on (as I post there regularly) and the "POST" button is constantly greyed out? Basically I can't post anything...

July 6, 2010 at 20:06 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

Great idea by Mr Binley on the Conservative Blog, agree with him a 100%, totally sick of the nannying neo-leftists. We are adults stop treating grown-ups like children! The SHS myth needs to be exposed for the lie that it is! The truth is showing through though, anti-smokers simply hate the smell! The SHS myth was used to force and impose their puritan aim upon the rest of us! Modern extraction systems can keep all of us both smokers and non-smokers happy. Anti-smokers on the other hand will never be content till they have reached tobacco prohibition!

July 6, 2010 at 20:17 | Unregistered CommenterBarneyBear

Being a lady of a certain age I will not stand outside on the street smoking. So the money I save by not going to my local club pays for me to go on coach trips to Holland, Germany or Belgium specially during the winter months. I never thought that in my old age I would have to go abroad to be able to socialise and have a cigarette at the same time. Last January extra coaches were laid on because so many elderly people had stayed in over Christmas so they could go to Belgium and sit in a pub and have a cigarette.

July 6, 2010 at 20:25 | Unregistered Commenterjaqueline

Just let us have some commensense & a law fair to all sides

July 6, 2010 at 20:28 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Just check the target criteria which Nick Clegg defined for any law-deletion:-

a) Laws that have eroded civil liberties
b) Regulations that stifle the way businesses work
c) Laws which are not required and which are likely to see law-abiding citizens criminalised

The Smoking Ban ticks all the boxes, so at least every Tory and Lib-Dem must show loyalty, along with Labour members who remember working men's clubs.

That law has been responsible for the closure of thousands of good businesses, the loss of many thousands of jobs, significant reduction of government revenue from company, personal and indirect taxation and the loss of vital community amenities like pubs and clubs.

What's more, there's no empirical evidence that it made any positive difference to anyone's health - in fact, because so many are now smoking in more unhealthy places, it may indeed have had a net negative effect on the smokers and those around them.

It's not about amending or tweaking this stupid ban, it's about repealing it altogether. If any businesses then decide to be non-smoking, that's their commercial choice, just as it is my choice whether to give them my trade. Since July 2007 I have not given a penny of trade to any business operating a smoking ban, no shall I until the ban is fully repealed. And I'm not alone - ever wondered why 50 pubs a week are closing down ? We won't start spending again until the ban is overturned.

Let's stub out that damaging law first - the foxes can wait.

July 6, 2010 at 20:28 | Unregistered CommenterGraham Hoyle

Pubs (meeting places!) going dowm the gurgler is bad enough, but spare a thought for the poor smokers with nowhere to go - being bullied, harassed and hounded from here to yonder, and watching what is happening to society around them ... A coffee and a fag was a useful safety valve when work or leisure pressures built up; road, air, trolley- etc. rages were unheard of... Peace-loving smokers didn't go burgling houses or robbing, maiming, killing for their "fix". Sadly, our little experiment at social engineering and fashion-mongering resulted in daring youngsters switching to invisible, illegal drugs - and getting hooked - to the joy and delight of the "tax free" drugs trade ... A wise old Chinaman once said, "If you want to conquer the West, give them Opium". Hmmmmm .....
If anybody is in the vicinity of Glenrothes in Fife, Scotland, between 19th July and 26th August, there's a photography exhibition in Fifespace, Rothes Halls by yours truly on the subject of the "Hell and Purgatory of Stopping Smoking" (trying to!) -- it nearly drove me ga-ga!

July 6, 2010 at 20:41 | Unregistered CommenterAase Goldsmith

I feel suffocated by the weight of interfering legislation introduced supposedly 'for my own good'! LEAVE ME ALONE to make my own decisions and mistakes. I am not a smoker but I want to sit in a pub with my smoking friends and enjoy a night out again.
Great nights out are now a distant local pub has closed down, my friends rarely go out and my nearest pub (2 miles away) smells of rotten cabbages due to all the cheap food being piled high on sticky tables!
Please, please let's have some common sense in government. The answer is very simple..Extractor fans! Give us back our smoking pubs and let us enjoy life again.

July 6, 2010 at 21:28 | Unregistered CommenterVal Kyrie

Where do you log on to this site?

July 6, 2010 at 21:30 | Unregistered CommenterChris F J Cyrnik

Good for Brian !

And yes - we must support his efforts in every way we can.

Especially since it's beginning to LOOK as though The Government won the Election.


(Yes, I know: it's early days etc................................)

Nice comments, too, from Graham, Aase, and Val K above: they can't be repeated often enough.

Repetition, repetition, repetition. It's what The Enemy has been using for years...............with great success.

July 6, 2010 at 22:02 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

"we do not want to alienate decent people like this..............."

Wise, wise words from Dave A.

Time for us to become (outwardly, at least) the Nice Party - by pressing (oh so reasonably) for a system that caters for ALL.

If we are to command growing support from the Public at large, it is vital - no matter how passionate we may feel about things - that we do NOT present ourselves as a rabble of Pathetic Victims or Screaming Malcontents.

The Science is crucial, of course.

But so is the Politics..............................................

July 6, 2010 at 22:17 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I concur with all the comments on here, and left the following one on Cons Home in reply to Ealing Tory who is too scared to reveal his proper name; just typical of a bully.

"I second what Peter Thurgood and Frank have said, and applaud Elaine for her good sense and compassion. There is an elderly gentleman I see occasionally at a local coffee shop. I once chatted with him, and learned he is in his eighties, and likes to get out once a day if possible as he lives alone. He is also a smoker, as am I. The severe winter we have just had led to my having more colds than usual due to having to stand in the freezing cold to have a cigarette, but my heart broke more for this dear gentleman who was forced to do the same. I am sure that your sweeping dismissal of more than a quarter of the population will come back to haunt you. If, for example, you had four children and one of them behaved in a way that led to their being treated like a leper by the majority, how would you feel? Would you gang up on them too, and side with the bigger crowd? I suspect you have not yet experienced being in a minority."

ps, Hello, Dave A.

July 6, 2010 at 22:47 | Unregistered CommenterValerie Thompson

The problem is ,the vast majority of smokers do not blog,they do not tweet,they do
not surf, they wait in their millions outside a million locations for something they can
get their hands on,something, with their limited abilities they can do themselves.
Who has the will,the ability,the skill to get the unknowing on board.

July 6, 2010 at 23:21 | Unregistered CommenterThe waiting is over

I am not a smoker but it would be a good night out once more if we could all go to the pub and stay together for the entire evening, presently I have friends who have to pop out to have a cig they are more out than in or so it feels. Ok its there choice to smoke and that is the point no boundaries will make a difference. Compromisation was the answer. There are so many pubs closing down. People are loosing their livelihood, their homes because of this ban. A room set aside for the purpose of mixing smoking and drinking/socializing. People dont want to go out for a dring and some bouncer say to them you can smoke within this perimeter. Surely this is a free country? Beer gardens are nice in the summer, but what about the rest of the year. This should have been sorted out in the beginning, and not a total ban because people have boycotted pubs as a result.. People are having a dring and a smoke at home in their own space because it is comfortable, cheaper, relaxing and there is no one saying or expecting you to go outside iin the english weather to have that little white stick. Very happy to read there are MPs out there with sense.

July 7, 2010 at 0:01 | Unregistered Commentermaureen doran

Hi Valerie I hope you are well.

July 7, 2010 at 0:06 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Most people are absolutely fed up with Nanny state Politics and Political Correctness...
Let's allow people to use common sense.
One of the great British Institutions, The British Pub is dying... the punters have voted with their feet since that damned Smoking Ban! Sadly many Pubs facing bankruptcy are becoming more like cafes or restaurants and we are losing an important part of our English heretage along with a great after work tradition - a place to go and have a relaxing chat with others - essential as trends show more single people in society than ever.
The ban should be lifted and Smoking Policy should be the decision of the proprietors of adult establishments like Pubs, CIU Clubs, Bingo Halls, Betting Shops, Casinos etc.
Let them decide what they want for their customers... who will soon show their support or otherwise.
Why should hard working people be strait jacketed into standing outside in all weathers if they choose to have a smoke? It is a sad fact that many people are not socialising any more and staying at home alone instead where they are not demonised or under a threat of being fined for just having a smoke.
It is ironical that the only place British citizens can freely smoke is in PRISON!
...And then there are the elderly who have smoked all their lives, but are prohibited from doing so if they need to live in an elderly establishment at the end of their lives... this is wrong! How many 100 year olds do we hear state their recipe for living to a ripe old age is to relax with a daily scotch and a smoke... Conversely how many 100 year old health conscious vegetarian non-smokers are there around???
NONE!!! I have never heard of a vegetarian to living to 100.
Come on...

July 7, 2010 at 4:47 | Unregistered CommenterP0TTER

Good to see a small step in the right direction. What can we expect in return? Vehement opposition from that Broderbond known as the DoH, RCP & BMA who will attempt to activate their Govt. funded stormtroops at ASH and CRUK. Lashings of cherry picked, isolated and manipulated 'statistics', readily spewed out by the NuLab dinosaurs in the media. Can't wait for the 'filthy', 'disgusting', addicted', 'immoral', 'drain on NHS' tripe that we've been used to, regurgitated again.

Should be fun.

July 7, 2010 at 7:52 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Please have a review. We need some common sense, not blanket bans

July 7, 2010 at 8:05 | Unregistered Commenterfran brackley

As a quarter of the population are smokers.
What our leaders seem to forget is that a quarter of the population are not spending.
A quarter of the population not spending is BAD FOR BUSINESS.
A very big mistake.

July 7, 2010 at 8:10 | Unregistered Commenterann

The worst bill ever passed, I am losing work because of it and pretty soon will be unemployed.The word COMPROMISE comes to mind,A whole social network is being lost. I think the Goverments intentions were to keep us all " IN DOORS" and leave the streets to the " Neds & Junkies"...It's working....the streets are empty

July 7, 2010 at 8:40 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

On completion of this post I am going to go outside of the offices and enjoy a smoke. Do I mind that? No! I have no wish to inflict my smoke on workmates who don't smoke so there is no alternative but to go outside.
However, we do have an alternative option in many (not all) public houses and this should be explored. It is not rocket science to separate smokers and non smokers within the same building. Surely if that is done then there can be no other reason why smokers cannot enjoy a pint and a cig with fellow smokers.

July 7, 2010 at 8:56 | Unregistered CommenterDon Hydes

The smoking ban in pubs, clubs, casinos and bingo halls had nothing whatsoever to do with health, It was as (John) has said all to do with keeping people off the streets. If the elderly stay in the house then they are less likely to be victims of crime. If the population communicate through a computer then they can be monitored. Both the communists and the fascists have banned groups of more than five, so the idea isn't new.

July 7, 2010 at 9:57 | Unregistered Commenterjaqueline

Great to see so many people making reasonable and sensible comments regarding the proposed review of the smoking ban over on ConservativeHome.

One thing that did dismay me however, was the fact that Dave Atherton obviously takes so much time and puts in so much effort into producing real facts and figures, yet on the whole he is ignored by the posters, who it seems would rather argue with a bunch of idiots who conjure up their own fact and figures willy-nilly.

Keep on producing your figures Dave, but please try to add a few punches alongside them, even if they have to be below the belt sometimes.

There was another post, directed at me, supposedly from someone whose name I have seen on here sometimes. I had just answered a poster (somewhat sarcastically) to his suggestion that "smoking should be limited, probably to no more than 25% of the public space to match the proportion of smokers in the population"

I replied: How truly "liberal" of you. Why not go the full hog and say people can only smoke in the cellar as long as no air can get in or out? Or maybe smokers could be told not to worry as they are only going to take a shower?

To which this poster replied to me, saying the following: "Err, did you miss the day when it was reclassified as a variant of Sarin gas? ;)

Methinks there are some very easily-led people posting here. Shame, as I thought Tories were brighter than that"

Either this "poster" was an impostor, or he was drunk. Either way, this is just the sort of person we most definitely do not need to further our cause. Whichever way one looks at it, it is a Conservative MP who is helping to champion our cause, and to deride Conservatives in this way is silly to say the least.

July 7, 2010 at 10:46 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

If we keep running backwards fast enough, we may catch up with George Orwell's "1984" by its 30th anniversary. And celebrate it by re-naming the UK the "DIS-United Kingdom" ...
(Perish the thought!)

July 7, 2010 at 10:54 | Unregistered CommenterAase Goldsmith

Agree with Jaqueline - it does seem there's a concerted effort to keep people at home. Most of us listen to radio, watch TV or use the internet at home. If we all stayed at home it would be tempting for those in power to put out subliminal messages on TV, radio and thru the internet to "guide" our thoughts. Far-fetched or not?

Amend the ban, please!

July 7, 2010 at 11:00 | Unregistered Commenterhklovejoy

In a democratic society smokers have been entirely disenfranchised. The free democratic way would be for pubs to choose whether they want to be smoking or non smoking. Those choosing to be smoking should then provide a bar in which you can smoke with adequate ventilation.Potential Employees and non smokers should be adequately warned with signage so they also have the freedom of choice.

July 7, 2010 at 11:03 | Unregistered CommenterMr R. Houston

At last!

Mind you, it would be far more sensible to allow each club or pub to decide for itself, buy a licence for a small annual fee to allow smoking, but this is a step in the right direction. Far too many really good old pubs have closed because they didn't have the outside space for people to smoke. Stop the rot.

July 7, 2010 at 11:12 | Unregistered CommenterJulia


Thank you for your kind words. It would be very rare if someone said thanks for your info, you proved me wrong. All we can do is offer evidence based facts and as most of my work is referenced and easy to confirm, the dam will break eventually. It is obvious, and infact I know, that the Conservative Party are aware of the damage that the smoking ban has done to the hospitality industry. The more ASH bang on to the opposite the more credibility they lose in the eyes of the government. This is ASH in 2003.

"Official - smoking bans are good for business. ASH accuses hospitality industry of "crying wolf".

The reality one year into the ban:

"Drink sales have fallen 9.8 per cent since the smoking ban was introduced
• Food sales have increased 0.6 per cent
• 75 per cent of smokers are visiting the pub less since the ban
• 66 per cent are making their visits to the pub shorter
• 47 per cent of licensees have laid off staff as a result of the ban
• The ban has been bad for the pub trade according to 74 per cent of licensees"

July 7, 2010 at 11:45 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

I am a reformed smoker as is my husband, however we both know that this bill has destroyed the traditional pub and th social atmosphere therein. The Landlord, Manager should be able to use his diswcretion and allow smoking where and when he thinks it beneficial to his trade and the atmosphere of the establishment. Last year we holidayed in Austria where the smoking ban is much more lax and nobody is offended.
Maisie Raku

July 7, 2010 at 13:08 | Unregistered CommenterMaisie Raku

In defence of smokers, who really only harm themselves, can anyone tell me how much barbeque smoke causes ill health and breathing difficulties amongst neighbours in suburban areas?
Someone near me frquently has a barbeque on a Sunday night and the smell is so bad that I have to close all windows, even in the recent hot weather, in order to be able to breathe properly.
Ban barbeques and leave smokers alone I say!

July 7, 2010 at 14:43 | Unregistered CommenterAindreas

There is only one thing that should be BANNED Aindreas, and that is people who propose BANS.

July 7, 2010 at 15:30 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood


Et voila, bon appetit!

"Barbecues poison the air with toxins and could cause cancer, research suggests.
A study by the French environmental campaigning group Robin des Bois found that a typical two-hour barbecue can release the same level of dioxins as up to 220,000 cigarettes.

Dioxins are a group of chemicals known to increase the likelihood of cancer.

The figures were based on grilling four large steaks, four turkey cuts and eight large sausages."

July 7, 2010 at 16:06 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

dont really care now.ive built a proper smokers bar in my garage with keg beers etc and good ventilation.i had twelve people in for the england game.3 smokers 9 non smokers.

July 7, 2010 at 16:10 | Unregistered Commenterpaul

Hi I agree that all pubs and clubs should be given a chance to have smokers back into the pubs. Whats wrong with this wretched Government? Whats wrong with Good old Air conditioning.People are stressed out enough as it is. So all we see is ciggie ends on the pavements outside Hotels, b and bs etc. Pub Gardens are packed as well,in the summer months.You take the Electronic Ciggie, its says that these are LEGAL But I bet there have been many people who have been ordered out of a pub.Let people make there own minds up and the Landlords too. Ok a resteraunt maybe should remain smoke free, while people are eating. But whats wrong with Good old Air conditioning? Thanks amandah

July 7, 2010 at 16:42 | Unregistered Commenteramandah

Why do you think a restaurant should remain smoke free while people are eating Amandah?

My favourite time for having a smoke, especially a cigar, is directly after I have eaten a meal. Do you think people eating will catch some terrible disease from my cigarette or cigar? I promise you they won't.

And if it is the smell you are worried about, do you also worry about the smell of cooking or open ranges, or indeed, garlic or onions or a thousand and one other smells that someone somewhere probably disagrees with?

The simple fact is Amadah, that second hand smoke will not harm anyone near it, or anyone anywhere come to that, whether they are eating, drinking or simply walking by.

July 7, 2010 at 16:51 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Three cheers for Brian Binley!
i hope the government shows it's serious about freedom by listening to him and amending the ban.

July 7, 2010 at 19:48 | Unregistered CommenterJonB

"Why do you think a restaurant should remain smoke free while people are eating Amandah?"

Peter has a point, Amandah.

The Smoke-and-Food argument is, of course, complete bollocks.

Or a complete 'red herring' as the more genteel among us would put it.

The solution ?

Smoking and non-smoking restaurants.

Smoking and non-smoking pubs.

That way, both the Fastidious and the Free-Spirited can go where they may - and negotiate their destination with their friends like real grown-ups in the Olden Times.

And both are GREATLY to be preferred to the institutionalised 10ft by 8ft Mini- Lepers' Colony which some seem to consider rather attractive.

Of course, a LARGE and comfortable room with its own bar, open fire, and a frosted glass door bearing the words 'Smoking Lounge' (rather as they had on the 'Aquitania' back in the Thirties - when my Grandfather was its Steward) WOULD be acceptable.

End of problem.

End of argument.

(And if it HAS to mean 'No Children Allowed' - I'll just have to grit my teeth, and bear the Agony of Compromise).

July 7, 2010 at 20:33 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Should have left things as they were, smoking and non smoking areas. Why can't the government not see this.

July 7, 2010 at 21:08 | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Here, Here, my favourite time for having a ciggy is after a meal and I think that most smokers would feel the same.
And the fact that I cant anymore is the reason why I dont go to restaurants any more.

July 7, 2010 at 21:19 | Unregistered Commenterann

The smoking ban introduced by Labour was totally unnecessary and was ill thought out as were most of the ideas and laws brought in by Labour. It has destroyed the social fabric of this country with this archaic law / in other countries including France smoking was permitted as long there was good air conditioning and extraction in place.

It's a tragedy to see so many pubs and clubs have closed or are closing since the ban and to see smokers in the streets is even more appalling - hopefully this law will be amended in time to save our pubs and clubs !

I personally have'nt been into a pub or club since the law was introduced as many other people I know have'nt either.

July 7, 2010 at 22:35 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Richardson

There are 2 non smokers in my pub. Me and the pub bore. Every 30 mins everybody leaves and I have to listen to the most boring man in Norfolk, who... Wait for it ...wants to stop people smoking altogether. We are a pretty tolerant lot so we listen to him. But what about some traditional British tolerance, if the most dangerous thing you ever do is passive smoke, then you are missing out on all this world has to offer.

July 7, 2010 at 23:00 | Unregistered CommenterKev Winks

The ban on smoking in pub, clubs etc was a blatant attempt to force people to both stop smoking and stop drinking, please note all the Drinkaware adverts. We never go out preferriing to stay in the house/garden and have a drink and a smoke whenever we want to Do not go for a coffee anywhere because once again unless it is warm and we can sit outside we cannot smoke I realise that there are only three of us, but nor do any of my sons friends they object to having to leave their drinks unattended whilst they go outside. We would put up with non/smoking rooms or areas, as for staff its easy just get smokers to serve in the smoking areas.

July 8, 2010 at 5:14 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Sharp

Good luck Mr Binley - you have my full support. I have not sat inside a pub since the ban, and only go out occasionally now - and when I say "out", I really mean "outside"!
Smokers have never wanted to cause distress to non-smokers, but with pubs having all areas as smoking, we never really had a choice - and we have no choice now.

July 8, 2010 at 11:04 | Unregistered CommenterColin

Non staffed smoking rooms - then all the so-called health issues would be completely addressed - or are these just 'smoke screens' for the fascist anti smoking groups.

July 8, 2010 at 12:19 | Unregistered CommenterVal Moloney

Lots of people on here are saying that they don't go out at all now since the ban. One woman said that she has stopped going to restaurants as well because of this. I feel exactly the same, I never went into pubs very much anyway, even when they were nice friendly places, where people could relax with a beer and a smoke, but now, I find it is just out of the question. Who on earth wants to go into a place that is three quarters empty most of the time, with people dodging in and out all the time to have a smoke, leaving just a few miserable bastards inside, who are always complaining that they can smell the smoke every time the door is opened?

As for going out to restaurants, I still do this quite a lot during the summer when I go to mainly restaurants with outdoor areas, but during the winter, this is almost impossible unless they have patio heaters, and a blind to protect you from the rain, but even that doesn't protect you from the miserable faces and the hand waving ninnies who pass you as they go into the warmth and comfort of the restaurant they have had you barred from.

One of my favourite restaurants used to be a lovely Spanish restaurant in Stockwell, London. As you walked in you had to fight for a place at the bar, where you could enjoy a drink, a smoke and some tapas before going into the restaurant proper for your meal. This place was so packed every single night that you had to book sometimes weeks in advance, especially for a Saturday night table.

This same place now resembles a haunted house. I went there a few weeks ago on a Saturday night, the bar was completely deserted apart from my wife and myself, and the restaurant had about 20 people in it at the most. When I spoke to the owner, whom I have known for many years, he was almost in tears as he told me is struggling to stay open and is doing mini-cabbing during the day to try to supplement his income. Needless to say this particular restaurant does not have an outside area and the pavement outside is too narrow for even a couple of tables.

This is only one example of what this rotten law is doing to restaurants, pubs and clubs, everyone I know has tales like this to tell, and it is going from bad to worse.

Who is the ban working for? It certainly isn't working for the restaurants, pubs and clubs, it certainly isn't working for people who smoke who no longer go to these places, it definitely isn't working for the Government, who are already losing untold revenue from lost sales on tobacco goods, neither is it working for the health service, who are also losing out on the money they used to receive from the taxes paid on tobacco goods. So what have we ended up with? We have ended up with a no-win situation, where everyone is a loser. Well almost everyone, for there is still that tiny fraction of anti-smokers who visit half empty pubs and restaurants from time to time, with evil grins on their faces, in the thought that they have defeated all the principals of freedom in this country.

Now the ball seems to be rolling in our favour, we should make damn sure that we keep it rolling without let-up.

July 8, 2010 at 14:04 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

It was with great sadness that I have been watching my local being pulled down (The Woodside,Plumstead Rd Norwich).This was a very viable business before the smoking ban.Pubs which remain have become elitist bars for well off non smokers,not PUBLIC houses at all.
Ban the ban before it is too late.John Dix

July 8, 2010 at 14:12 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Dix

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