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« A touch of the vapers | Main | House rules - a reminder »

Smoking ban and pub closures

The Morning Advertiser last week reported new research that suggests that the smoking ban is the main cause of pub closures. The news won't surprise readers of this blog but it ought to interest the many journalists and MPs who persist with the idea that the ban has had little or no impact on the pub trade.

The research was carried out by CR Consulting on behalf of the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign. You can download the four-page report HERE.

The full press release, including quotes, reads:


New research suggests that the smoking ban is the main cause of pub closures in the UK.

Using information from a respected industry database, researchers found that the number of pub losses demonstrate a very close statistical relationship between the introduction of smoking bans and the acceleration of the decline of the British pub.

This relationship, says the report, is considerably stronger than those that could be attributed to other factors such as the recession, alcohol duty or supermarket competition.

Researchers found a striking similarity in the rate of closures in Scotland, England and Wales following the introduction of smoking bans in each country.

Analysis of statistics from CGA Strategy showing the net figure of pubs closing revealed losses accelerating after the first year of the ban in each country — from between 0.5% and 1.2% in the first year to between 3.8% and 4.4% in the second year.

Almost three years after the introduction of smoking bans in the three countries, Scotland had lost 7.1% of its pub estate (467 pubs), Wales 7.3% (274), and England 7.6% (4,148). Scotland, which introduced a smoking ban a year earlier lost a further 4% of its pub estate in the fourth year after the ban, mirroring a similar decline in Ireland (11%) which banned smoking in pubs in 2004.

Total pub losses in England, Scotland and Wales since the introduction of smoking bans in all three countries are in excess of 5,500.

According to the report, which was commissioned by the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign, “While there is significant variation in the trajectories of pub closures in each country before the ban, there is an almost total correlation between the three countries after the ban.

“This indicates that they are affected by a strong common factor - the smoking ban. The correlation is in fact so close that the trend line for the three countries is identical.”

Oliver Griffiths, director of CR Consulting, said, “The decline of the British pub had started before the smoking ban but at a relatively low level. The smoking ban had a sudden and marked impact, accelerating the rate of decline.

“While it is not the only factor, the smoking ban is demonstrably the most significant cause of pub closures in recent years.”

Griffiths warned that further pub closures are inevitable. "In Scotland the smoking ban was introduced fifteen months before England and they have lost a further 4% of their pubs.

“If England continues to mirror that trend another 2000 pubs in England will shut down before the fourth anniversary of the ban in July 2011, and there is no indication that the closures will stop there."

Griffiths blamed the continuing decline on the loss of sociability in pubs.

“With smoking customers spending much of their time outside, some pubs may be becoming less sociable places, leading customers to question whether they want to drink there or at home.”

John Madden, executive officer of the Guild of Master Victuallers, said: "Traditional drink-led pubs have been caught in the crossfire in the war on smoking. As this report shows, the smoking ban has helped to put literally thousands out of business already and sadly we expect many more to follow, all through no fault of their own.

“Smoking rooms are allowed in most European countries, why can't we have them? They don't inconvenience non-smokers and may help us to keep our businesses going. Our pubs are part of the national character and a great place for people to meet and chat. At the time when we are supposed to be building a Big Society it just doesn't make sense to be forcing licensees out of business."

Simon Clark, director of the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign, said, “Politicians can bury their heads in the sand and pretend otherwise but there is no doubt that the smoking ban has had a devastating effect on a great many pubs.

“We were told that the ban would encourage a new wave of non-smoking customers but that hasn’t happened. Instead, many smokers have chosen to stay at home and a great many pubs have closed as a result.

“For the sake of our local communities, the Government must review the smoking ban. Options should include separate smoking rooms. “The Government should also relax the regulations on outdoor smoking shelters so that people can smoke outside in a warm and comfortable environment all year round.”

You can download the press release HERE.

We will be sending both documents to MPs and would encourage you to send copies to your own MP with a covering note inviting them to sign Brian Binley's Early Day Motion (EDM 406) which calls for a review of the smoking ban in pubs and clubs.

Reader Comments (72)

Fully! I strongly agree. I stopped having a coffee and cake out a long time ago when the ban came into force. I only do so when it's sunny and the place has tables outside nicely equipped with ashtrays.

It's been ages since i have not been i a pub or bar ...well since the smoking ban.

Furthermore, there are places such as Bicester Village which ridiculously forbids smoking OUTSIDE!!! yes there is a restaurant which has tables outside but NO Smoking. Not to mention that this RIDICULOUS ban has started in hotels too. Most UK hotels or B&B does not let you smoke in YOUR OWN room. Of course...i never had this problem in Europe...and i travel a lot as part of my job!!! For God sake..DO SOMETHING!!Andreea

September 6, 2010 at 14:04 | Unregistered CommenterAndreea Bostan

Well of course. I wonder how the mainstream press will cover this (if at all).

September 6, 2010 at 14:04 | Unregistered CommenterMark Butcher

I have to say that, as a smoker, I now avoid meeting friends, especially smoking friends, in bars and pubs.

When we can meet in each others' homes and enjoy a drink without having either to stand outside or put up with the contemptuous glares of the Tobacco Taliban, why would we want to do anything else?

Admittedly, I now live in Germany where smoking rooms are permitted but, I still have a family and a home in England (Liverpool) but, when I'm there - 4-6 times a year - the bars and pubs miss out on my custom.

I feel sad that my reaction to the Ban is leading to bar and pub owners losing their livelihoods but, I didn't start this and I won't be the one to end it.

September 6, 2010 at 14:04 | Unregistered CommenterCharles Matthews

They want pubs to shut.

Havent you noticed all the articles and reports about alcohol intake over the last few months?

They will move to ban alcohol in public places. Ten years ago it was unthinkable that smoking would be banned in pubs, the same will happen with booze!

September 6, 2010 at 14:53 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Staton

I'll send a copy to my (newbie) MP.

September 6, 2010 at 14:54 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

I once used to frequently arrange to meet friends at a convenient pub because they were usually easy to find places and sociable. But not now. Since the smoking ban they are no longer sociable at all and half the time, you find they are closed down!
It would be so simple to use a modicum of common sense, like the rest of Europe and allow proper smoking areas. This would save thousands of jobs and restore a little of the freedom that has been hijacked by UK governments. The same aplies to airports. I will never fly again until they lift their cattle truck mentality and oppression. Who needs terrorists, when our own government is doing their work for them?

September 6, 2010 at 14:59 | Unregistered CommenterB. Davies

Who will see it?

Unless this study reaches the main stream media - then it's little better than useless.

September 6, 2010 at 15:07 | Unregistered CommenterDavidR

I fear to say that I think Neil is right: the object of the exercise is to ban fun.

There remain those who think the Tobacco Taliban are the end of the story but, this is not so - they are not even the end of the beginnning.

The Tobacco Taliban are simply the out-riders: they are the paramilitary wing of the Fun Police; the Mujahideen of the New Age Puritans.

The West, Britain and America in particular, has long laboured (no pun intended) under the yoke of a Presbeterian Puritanism that periodically rears its un-made up countenance to frown on anything enjoyable while, the likes of us have let them get away with it.

The only answer is some form of campaign. Maybe use the tactics of the highly successful Talibanis themselves. A gradual easing back of the restrictions until we reach something like sense.

Remember this: as Neil notes, if you'd said 20 years ago that smoking would be banned in British pubs, everyone would have thought you an idiot. The Tobacco Taliban were patient and acheived their objectives little by little.

And, these New Age Puritans won't stop until theyve eliminated all fun.

September 6, 2010 at 15:13 | Unregistered CommenterCharles Matthews

The people of this country did, for some strange reason, effectively vote in favour of this happening. All those who voted for a sitting MP or any of the main three parties (some 85% of the electorate) knew full well what their attitudes were to the smoking ban and that the lot of them are a bunch of corrupt authoritarians. No doubt they can still enjoy a cigarette in the smoking rooms of Westminster while they dream up more rules and regulations for us to obey. There were plenty of alternatives on offer but the people chose more of the same. They are getting what they voted for.

September 6, 2010 at 15:22 | Unregistered CommenterJames Trent

Afraid I agree with DavidR. This was on the Morning Advetiser site three days ago and has not been mentioned anywhere in the MSM.
Perhaps a copy sent to a smoker friendly journalist?

September 6, 2010 at 15:36 | Unregistered Commentersheila

As a smoker i stopped going in pubs when the smoking ban was introduced. I did go to a pub once after the ban and i hated having to go out in the rain for a smoke, i spent the rest of the evening in a foul mood so that was the end of that. I have said all along that it would be the end of pubs, clubs and restaurants with smoking areas, also bingo halls. We should have smoking pubs and non smoking pubs then we can choose for ourselves which one to go to. I also choose hotels that have smoking rooms and utterly refuse to go to one thats non smoking.

September 6, 2010 at 15:41 | Unregistered CommenterElaine Good

Agree about hotels but often struggle to find them. Are they not allowed to advertise the fact that they have smoking rooms?

September 6, 2010 at 15:56 | Unregistered Commentersheila

It's time to take the gloves off about this ban.
Throwing people out into utterly inadequate shelters, or more likely, no facilities at all is DISCRIMINATION, just as disgusting and shameful as discrimination on the grounds of Race, Religion, Sex, Sexuality, Age, Ability, etc.

Being reasonable is no longer enough - there is collective denial prevalent in Britain (including amongst smokers) that it's 'alright' or 'not that bad' to be treated like coloureds in Apartheid South Africa.
France doesn't put up with it! Nor does Spain nor Germany! They just tell the authorities to mind their own business and refuse to let governments tell them how to live their lives.

Being reasonable plays straight into the hands of the antismoking fascists who poison public opinion with their litany of LIES about the seriousness of the health risks and the effectiveness of bans as they call for more and more restrictions.
Their hypocrisy is boundless - they never complain about the far more damaging health risks like vehicle exhausts and fossil fuel burning - only about tobacco.

THEY will *never stop* trying to oppress you more and more.
THEY are not interested in compromise or fairness, accommodation for all or freedom to choose - they will keep up their campaign of BIGOTRY for as long as it remains legal to do so.
(Note that fascism against other lifestyle choices is also on the rise because these loathsome people have been allowed to get away with it).

NO form of DISCRIMINATION is acceptable, so SPEAK OUT against it - STAND UP and state, clearly and calmly, that anti-smoking law is DISCRIMINATION and we insist that smokers be treated with the respect and dignity due to every citizen in a supposedly free country.

Only fools and those in denial claim that the EIGHT TIMES increase in pub closure rate (which started exactly when the various UK/Ireland band started!) was a freak coincidence and nothing to do with the smoking ban.

The only fair way to go in a CIVILISED country is to have some pubs smoking, some non-smoking, and some with separate >properly ventilated< (yes it CAN be done, and is widely in use in the US) smoking rooms. All other large public places and workplaces should provide clean, ventilated smoking rooms AS COMMON COURTESY just the same way they provide washrooms and chapels.

BATTER your MP with this.
There is nowhere for them to hide - to ignore it or oppose it is to sanction DISCRIMINATION, which foisted on us in a cowardly unmanifestoed coup on the watch of a bigoted and deeply unpopular health minister (see P.Hewitt career bio) who openly quoted the Director of the rabid anti-smoking pressure group ASH in the Commons as if it was a source worthy and wise enough to direct the policies of this great country, regardless of the wishes of 85% of pub-goers (including non-smokers).

MPs can and do listen to their constituents - CONTACT YOURS TODAY!
The tiny minority of antisocial antismoking loonies can't shout us down if we ALL stand up and complain - STOP SMOKER DISCRIMINATION.

September 6, 2010 at 16:01 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Shepherd

@DavidR and all

The government and David Cameron are better informed than you think, on Cameron I know it reasonably confidently. They know full well the damage done to the pub trade by the smoking ban. Economically we have won the argument and I too have a paper to be published this week which confirms the same figures. I am even able to quantify it to 76.73% or 3 in 4 pubs of course. Not only that I offer evidence that alcohol was just as cheap pre ban. Take to from me, 2 MEPs, 5 MPs, 6 think tanks and 40-50 people working in politics will know too.

The biggest problem we have is that many politicians take the attitude that they are willing to pay the price of pub closures and unemployment, firstly because they think that they are saving lives because of SHS and secondly they are petrified of the health lobby.

However last week I was able to read the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health report from cover to cover, it is the document that MPs based their decision to vote for the ban. Not only that under a Freedom Of Information Request I have all the SCOTH minutes from 1998 to 2004. SCOTH was written by Prof Martin Jarvis of ASH and not only was there dissent but the 2004 report has more holes in it than Gruyere cheese.

We have won the economic battle and we now need to win the health battle too.

September 6, 2010 at 16:59 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Here is ASH speaking in February 2003, another footnote in their web of deception.

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

"Hospitality trade leaders in the UK are being challenged to reveal the hard evidence on which they are basing claims that profits in pubs, restaurants and bars will plummet if smoking restrictions are implemented in public places."

September 6, 2010 at 17:03 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

These are the latest bans in Canada and the USA. Read carefully.

Antismoking has a long, sordid history.
(Note that Dillow, 1981, does not indicate that the antismoking (and anti-alcohol) of early-1900s USA was eugenics-driven)
In some American States it made criminals of ordinary citizens.

Antismoking is typically based on inflammatory propaganda. It promotes irrational belief, fear and hatred, and social division/havoc. The only concern of bigoted antismoking is victory, not facts. The sorts of bans we are now seeing in the current “crusade” were planned (and added to) more than three decades ago. (see the Godber Blueprint )

September 6, 2010 at 17:07 | Unregistered CommenterAnon1

@Dave Atherton - More applause for taking the time and trouble that you do over primary material, Dave.

For those of us who are going to write to our MPs about the survey results and EDM, I think it would do no harm if we can also show that ASH knew full well that the ban would lead to closures and was lying through its teeth.

September 6, 2010 at 17:37 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

You are all absolutely right with your comments. BUT also in our area, rural North Hampshire the Pubs are now closing because of the Pub.Co's restrictive practices are resulting in a high price for a pint, and now customer resistance causing declining trade.
There have been select Cttes. of MP's to discuss the problem and what has happened? To date nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!
But it now seems the price is going up in the House of Commons Bars, so perhaps they will appreciate what has been happening to the rest of us!!
And of course, as we know, they can enjoy a smoke with a drink. Maybe even a car-trip home with a driver (paid for by us!)

September 6, 2010 at 17:38 | Unregistered CommenterREAL ALE DRINKER

Well said Dr Shepherd, interesting reading.
Sheila, i have read that it is not against the law for hotels to have smoking rooms as it is classed as home from home, but as we know some have banned it altogether.I don't think they all advertise the fact but always ask if they have smoking rooms.

September 6, 2010 at 17:40 | Unregistered CommenterElaine Good

...I should have added that, it could be suggested that if ASH were prepared to lie about closures might it also have grossly exaggerated the dangers of SHS (which we know it has)?

Are you saying, Dave, that politicians are petrified of the health lobby despite knowing that SHS is a myth? If not then they would, surely, be furious if they'd been misled?

September 6, 2010 at 17:44 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce


MPs and government believe SHS kills people. Jarvis of ASH wrote it, Prof James Friend Chaired it. Friend was discredited by the judge in McTear vs Imperial Tobacco lung cancer case. The SCOTH Committee had 5 Labour Party members 2 others from ASH, 2 from the WHO and 10 of the 16 had received payments from pharmaceutical companies. The report was presented to Sir Liam Donaldson whom the Department of Health look upon it as a Bible. You write to an MP and there is always some limp quote from the Dept of Health.

Any government would have to overcome the obstacle of a well organised and slick PR machine of the health lobby who have mainstream media's mobile numbers and email addresses on speed dial. Sandford, Prof Britton of ASH will be doing 4 or 5 interviews a day on the BBC, Sky and ITV etc denouning the Lib Con coalition.

However I feel I have enough knoweldge to sort these problems out.

September 6, 2010 at 18:02 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

I wish you all the luck in the world, Dave Atherton, and have little doubt of eventual but limited success. But isn't the main problem with MP's, not so much knowing they were mislead or thoughtlessly following the herd, but being prepared to admit it?

September 6, 2010 at 18:12 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

"If not then they would, surely, be furious if they'd been misled?"

Don't bank on it, Joyce !

If they'd been misled by organisations (ha ha) that were Pro-Choice, then THAT would have been a different matter.

And I'm still waiting for a convincing explanation as to WHY Jim Hacker is so scared of the Health Lobby - especially when it relies heavily upon government for much of its funding (some of it wholly indefensibe, in my view).

A mystery, indeed. Or maybe not.

Logic, Humanity, Science, and Truth have never been NECESSARY components of Theology - have they ?

In fact, at any stage in its history, at least one of the them has been under attack from The Big T.

Theology (Humanist-style, this time).

THAT is what we're fighting, folks........................................

(You can bet your Soul on it)

September 6, 2010 at 18:30 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Quote (David R).... "Unless this study reaches the main stream media - then it's little better than useless."

It made a couple of pitiful column inches somewhere in the depths of yesterday's "People". Somehow I think that's all it will get - I can't see the beeb highlighting it... could have a deleterious effect on future budgets.

September 6, 2010 at 18:44 | Unregistered CommenterDisgruntled Pipesmoker

From Dave Atherton's link

25 February 2003

"The research published today shows that studies claiming a negative economic impact of smoking bans all had tobacco industry backing and that most of these were subjective and of poor quality. By contrast, the independent, peer reviewed research showed no impact on takings."

Would that be this misleading piece of nonsense?

Despite all the rhetoric about smoking bans, it was really a study of non-smoking areas, funded by various smokefrees.

Smoke screen

"Medical experts and workers want legal controls on passive smoking at work. The tobacco and hospitality industries do not - and are using lies, junk science and deceit to back their case. Guess who the government is listening to?

"The 2003 study in the journal Tobacco Control confirmed the positive impact of smoking bans on hospitality venues.

The researchers found that those studies that concluded smoking bans were bad for business were poor quality. They were four times as likely to use subjective rather than objective measures to estimate the impact and 20 times less likely to be peer reviewed.

Less ash, more cash

Anita Lal, one of the authors of the study, provided Hazards with its analysis of the five UK studies included in the research [see: The smoking gun, below].

The three independent studies, with declared funding sources and no links to the tobacco industry, found no negative impact of existing UK smoking bans in pubs and restaurants. Pub owners reported that business had either increased or remained the same.

Two of the three UK studies found the majority of pubs reported an increase in trade after bans were introduced."

"Type of policy examined: Smoke-free areas in pubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, cinemas and theatres"

September 6, 2010 at 19:25 | Unregistered CommenterRose2

Comments like DavidR's annoy me because they wilfully ignore the work that Forest and other professional bodies do behind the scenes.

Of course it's important to get mainstream media coverage, but it's not the end of the world if we don't. The media is one vehicle to get our message across but there are others and what you don't see (because I rarely write about it) is the work that goes on behind the scenes lobbying politicians and journalists in private meetings, at public events, by letter and in person.

A study such as this is far from "useless". It may not hit the headlines but hundreds of copies will be sent to ministers, backbench MPs, local councillors and other interested parties including civil servants.

On its own it won't change the political landscape, but it is one of many campaign tools that we will use to create what we believe is a persuasive, evidence-based argument.

What is "useless" is sniping from armchair critics who hide behind pseudonyms and offer nothing in the way of practical help or advice. (If you have an alternative strategy I'd love to hear it.)

191 words

September 6, 2010 at 20:34 | Unregistered CommenterSimon Clark

I stopped going to bars and clubs when the smoking ban was introduced. I very, very rarely even have a coffee when I go shopping, I refuse to pay for something to eat when I am forced to go outside to have my cigarette afterwards I cut out the middleman and wait til I get home. I can,t be the only person to do these things. Come on government see sense!!!

September 6, 2010 at 20:45 | Unregistered CommenterMarion

This post is more than 200 words. But I trust Simon Clark will allow some constructive criticism of this report.

Before people get too excited about the report, it’s worth pointing out a few things.

Figure 1 of the paper is fascinating.

a. It shows how the shape of the graph for Scotland is very different to those for England and Wales. There is a massive drop in (presumably) the 3rd quarter of 2007, followed by a period of stability. No such trend in England or Wales. I can’t be sure about the reasons for that sudden dip but it’s more likely to relate to the credit crunch than to the smoking laws. Whatever, the reason, it seriously questions the claim in the report of a “very close relationship between the ban and the decline in pub estates”.

b. If pubs had closed in the same ways in England, Scotland and Wales as a result of the smoking laws, we would have expected the graphs for Wales and England to trail the Scottish graph by 4 quarters and 5 quarters respectively. In fact, they follow very similar trajectories for the last 2 whole years, with a fall starting in the same quarter in 2008. This suggests the causes of closure were largely happening at the same time across the 3 nations (unlike the smoking laws, which started in Scotland 12-15 months before England and Wales).

c. Also, from this point onwards, England’s decline in pub numbers is trailing Scotland’s by only 2-3 quarters, not the 5 quarters by which Scotland’s smoking laws predated England’s. So the decline in England’s pubs happened more quickly than Scotland’s, which suggests the smoking laws cannot have been the only factor influencing the closures and that the economic downturn accelerated the number of pub closures.

Figure 2 of the paper is also fascinating – because the graph lines do not correspond with those in Figure 1. For instance, is Scotland a blue line or a green line? So at least one of the figures must be wrong!

The conclusion I draw is similar to the conclusion in the report – that the smoking laws were one of several factors contributing towards pub closures. Strangely, however, the report downplays the significance of economic difficulties by stating that the recession only started in the third quarter of 2008. But, since a recession is defined as two or more consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, by definition the negative growth started in the first quarter of 2008. And there is a lot of evidence showing how publicans were struggling in the second half of 2007, owing to rapidly increasing drink, food and energy costs, rent increases, rising cost of credit and more.

September 6, 2010 at 20:48 | Unregistered CommenterRollo Tommasi

Those three "independent" studies that showed no loss of business.

Location: North East England, UK

Type of policy examined: Smoke-free areas in pubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, cinemas and theatres

Publisher: Report by the Newcastle University Department of Epidemiology and Public Health for North East Against Tobacco (NEAT)
Funding source indicated: NEAT
Nature of relationship with tobacco industry: Funding source other than tobacco industry Description: Proprietors opinions of impact on business
Findings: 25 per cent of businesses reported a boost in trade, majority a neutral effect. In pubs 58 per cent reported an increase in trade.

Location: Staffordshire, UK

Type of policy examined: Smoke-free areas in pubs

Publisher: Tobacco Control
Funding source indicated: Staffordshire Smoke-free Alliance
Nature of relationship with tobacco industry: Funding source other than tobacco industry
Description: Sales at each pub and income before the intervention from landlords
Findings: Monthly sales for six pubs do not indicate adverse effects. One pub showed a 10 per cent increase on a similar period to last year.

Reference: Yorkshire Ash. Popularity and impact on trade of smoke-free accommodation in the hospitality trade in Yorkshire; 2001.

Type of policy examined: Smoke-free restaurants and bars

Location: Yorkshire, UK
Publisher: Report by Yorkshire Ash Funding source indicated: Yorkshire Ash
Nature of relationship with tobacco industry: Funding source other than tobacco industry
Description: Proprietor estimates of effect on sales
Findings: Almost 2/3 (65 per cent) of respondents thought trade had increased as a result of the no-smoking policy, 29 per cent thought trade had increased 'a lot'. Only 5 per cent thought trade had decreased "a little", none thought it had decreased by 'a lot'.

Eighteen out of 28 pubs (64 per cent) thought trade had increased as a result of providing smoke-free areas. None thought it had decreased."

September 6, 2010 at 21:04 | Unregistered CommenterRose2

Someone said main stream media.

I am confident due to a number of things that the BBC have a policy of not metioning the smoking ban shutting pubs.

September 6, 2010 at 21:04 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Staton

My Dear Fellow Enthusiasts,

There are a couple of additional considerations that reflect British Government thinking and that are sometimes overlooked.

I live in Germany where they also have smoking bans. How do you know that smoking is banned? No ashtrays inside the bar. Yes: there are no signs hectoring you anywhere. The German Government assumes, if it's the law, you will obey it.

In other words: the German Government trusts its people which is why it can also allow smoking rooms in bars and bars where only one smoker works, to be totally smoking.

Also: the objective of the German smoking bans is to afford space to non-smokers - an entirely laudible approach. In Britain, however, the objective is to pressurise smokers to stop.

Trust me, the day is coming when you won't be afforded health care or insurance if you smoke and you WILL be tested to ensure you are tobacco free.

September 6, 2010 at 21:11 | Unregistered CommenterCharles Matthews

Simon is right here and, I had noticed this myself - including what I was writing so I'm as guilty as anyone else: it's little more than armchair sniping.

Sorry for the long post.

The trouble is, Old Chap, that it is such a difficult campaign to start and, we smokers must accept some of the blame for this.

I have always - and I mean always - gone out of my way to be considerate in my smoking habit however, many of my fellow smokers have been very, very stupid and now we're all reaping the results. Inconsiderate smokers handed the Tobacco Taliban exactly what they needed: ammunition.

So: what can we do? Well - firstly, I'd recognise the power in our numbers. In the last 3 General Elections, fewer people voted for the party that won than smoke in Britain today. Sounds strange I know but, it's true. If anyone wants the numbers, I'll post them tomorrow.

We can also talk with our friends about this. And I mean non-smokers too. Simon's a non-smoker so they're not all out to get us. My sister has never smoked but she supports our position. Spread the message - especially that which debunks the lies about passive smoking.

Stick posters in our windows and ask our friends to do the same. Visibility counts for a lot.

Simon, do we have any badges, carrier bags, bumper stickers? Make the bars and clubs that don't at least make an effort to accommodate us aware of why we're staying away. Maybe we should create "Smoker Friendly" posters or stickers for bars that at least try to help us?

And; wouldn't it be fun to stick "Tobacco Taliban" posters on the doors of pubs and clubs who won't make an effort however, that's illegal - shame though.

And, of course, use the Internet and email. The weight of evidence is out there. Remember: the Tobacco Taliban won with lies and half truths and it took them 30 years so, we need to be patient but PERSISTENT!

That's it, I'm off now, it's late. Goodnight all.

September 6, 2010 at 21:42 | Unregistered CommenterCharles Matthews

Charles Mathews raises the fact that there is power in numbers. New Labour realised this by standing up for gay rights and drawing huge numbers of votes. Are smokers as determined to end discrimination? By the way an easy u-turn to allow comfortable and sheltered outside smoking areas would be more acceptable to the politicians.

September 6, 2010 at 22:12 | Unregistered CommenterColin Spalding

Simon, apologies from this armchair critic. I,m sure no-one was inferring that you dont work hard at trying to get the message across. At times it must be very difficult being asked to respond to the various new proposals, often in I imagine a quite hostile enviremont and i,m sure you do a lot behind the scenes as well.
For my part I just get so frustrated that one word from Ash gets transported through every medium possible yet anything slightly in favour of anything regarding smoking and requiring a modicom of common sense, never sees the light of day, well rarely anyway. Spin, spin, spin. aided entirely by the media.

September 6, 2010 at 22:29 | Unregistered Commentersheila

Sheila, good point. The only way we will make progress and push back the New Age Puritans is to win the argument amongst those we can talk with - directly.

ASH and their duplicitous cronies won by being patient and repeating their lies over and over until enough people were convinced.

This must be our approach however, we have one advantage: we speak the truth.

September 6, 2010 at 22:38 | Unregistered CommenterCharles Matthews

From my own experience, I feel that the impact the smokiing ban has had on people's social lives, has been totally underestimated. The government is treating those of us that smoke worse than animals. Pig shelters can legally be 95% enclosed. All other law abiding groups of people, can at least be expected to be treated with dignity, so why not smokers? Does the government really have the right, as a law abiding group of people to take our dignity away?
The government sells us tobacco and understands the nature of it, but then to deny users of this product any open space in any public building and not even permit venues for smokers only; I feel must breach human rights laws.

I avoid the pub and club scene completely now. I object to being made to stand around outside and to being treated this badly as a paying customer.
The CR Consulting Analysis is a very big step forward though. I too would like to see it reported in the mainstream media. It is the pubcos and breweries that must be made to fight, for the introduction of smoking rooms. They are losing the money !

September 6, 2010 at 22:51 | Unregistered CommenterJon

It is interesting to see a couple of people from Hampshire (or is it Berkshire?) here. I was in Chipperfield last weekend for a family do (I am not from there but I have family there). We went for a family celebration to the pub/restaurant attached to the Premier Inn in Kings Langley.
There may have been 30 people dining (including 9 of us). In the bar area, there were 2 - and this was a Saturday night! There may have been 8 people sitting outside on what was a pleasant-ish evening.
What question pops into your mind?
The question that popped into my mind at the time was: "Where are all the non-smokers then?"

There is a letter in the business section of today's (6th) Telegraph from the Chairman of Wetherspoon's. He complains about Alcohol Concern demanding increases in alcohol taxes to combat 'alcohol' addiction. He then goes on to demand that tax on alcohol in supermarkets should be increased in order to '....reverse the trend towards off-sales". He mentions pub closures, but needless to say he attributes closures to high pub prices due to taxation. Nowhere does he mention the smoking ban.

The laughable thing about both the Alcohol Concern's argument and Wetherspoon's argument is that neither of them account for only TWO customers being present in the Inn bar on a Saturday night in what is a very affluent part of the country.

You notice these things particularly when you go to a place only once every blue moon. Four years ago, that Inn was a fairly active pub and not unpleasant. Now, as a pub, it is dead.

September 6, 2010 at 23:46 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

There has never been any doubt in my mind about the correlation between the smoking ban and the decline of the British pub based on extrapolation of my own pattern of behaviour. ( I have also run a pub ).

How about this as a possible middle way solution ? Each and every pub elects whether to be a smoking or a non smoking venue. Supply and demand will determine the natural balance between the two. The non smokers can enjoy their cups of tea and halves of chandy in a smokeless atmosphere and the smokers can do their own thing.

It should be interesting to see the resultant balance and the whole exercise would surely reflect the democratic process of which we are so justifiably proud and wish to impose on the rest of the world.

September 6, 2010 at 23:58 | Unregistered Commenternick slav

"Trust me, the day is coming when you won't be afforded health care or insurance if you smoke and you WILL be tested to ensure you are tobacco free."

Maybe so, but it will presumably then become possible to “opt out” of paying one’s NI contributions. Or maybe reducing them, on the basis that smokers also fall prey to non-smoking-related health problems, like falling off ladders or getting knocked down by cars for which, presumably, even the po-faced anti-smoking NHS wouldn’t feel they could deny care?

And insurance companies? Believe me, it won’t be long before some very canny insurance company hits on the idea of offering policies to smokers just for the major "smoking-related" illnesses. There’s a massive market out there, and if, as you say, the NHS are going to start imposing conditions upon patients before providing their services, this will only accelerate the process. Rates won’t be as high as people might think – insurance companies have to base their premiums on well-researched facts, not exaggerated news releases from campaign groups who have a vested interest in making smoking sound much more damaging and scary than it actually is. Smokers can thus spend the balance of their reduced NI cons on that. I’m just amazed that none of the health insurance companies have thought of it yet!
(189 words)

September 7, 2010 at 0:17 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

To those who may question the impact of the study there is a daily email from a vicious anti smoker called Gene Borio who runs It is widely read amon anti smoking groups, it is there already.

SMOKE BAN ‘IS MAIN CAUSE’ OF PUB LOSSESSubtitle: Smoke ban is main reason for closure of pubs, says new research Source: Morning 2010-09-03

Author: Phil MellowsURL: 307252

September 7, 2010 at 0:59 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

I have just posted an idea on Your Freedom. Only 250 words:

""I am calling for a public enquiry into the smoking ban.
A new study has revealed that The Smoking Ban has indeed been responsible for the decimation of our pubs - there is no doubt about it.
We must put this into context.
Prior to the smoking ban, ASH, funded by the Health Dept and Others, assured the hospitality trade, as a result of various studies and surveys, that their trade would not suffer if smoking was banned. This has now turned out to be false.
Not only that, but the ban was rushed through using parliamentary tricks which belittle our nation and our democracy.
Further, various physicians have recently been quoted as accusing parents of child abuse if they smoke in the presence of their children.
I say: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! The denormalisation and demonisation of smokers must cease!""

""This is important because there are people who have a major imput into government who are massaging the facts and causing mayhem in our country. They are doing major harm, not only to our economy, but also to our hegemony – our belief in our national unity. They are intent upon turning us against each other, not only in respect of smoking, but also, eventually, in respect of our enjoyment of ‘aqua vitae’ and food, and, in due course, any other matter of which they disapprove (flying?).
Only a public enquiry into the origins and conduct of the ban will eradicate this poison which has entered the body politic of our nation.""

if only...........!

September 7, 2010 at 4:17 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

I personally think that Simon was a little harsh on DavidR - to my mind he was simply expressing the frustration and anger that many of us smokers feel as a result of the almost complete media blackout when it comes to the damage caused by the ban.

However, I do understand where Simon's coming from - there certainly are some anonymous commenters who do nothing but post snide remarks about online campaigners and campaigns, and who become irritating very quickly. I just don't think that DavidR is one of them.

Yours semi-anonymously!

September 7, 2010 at 9:00 | Unregistered CommenterRick S

I stand by my words.

“Who will see it?
Unless this study reaches the main stream media - then it's little better than useless”.

I stand by every word of this statement. Here’s why. No matter how worthy, how good a study of any kind is, with regard to the smoking ban unless and until it becomes an issue in the main stream media…which it is not likely to be unless there is a sea change of mind-set amongst politicians, then…it is little better than useless. Politicians already know the state of affairs with regard to the smoking ban, but it’s a non issue for them, unless it’s made an issue for them by the media…does that make sense? Until then – this study will remain mute and dormant. I wish that were not the case because of the work involved…but there has never been a proper debate in the media about this issue…it is too politically incorrect.
The media have never once challenged the government over their betrayal on their manifesto pledge not to bring in a blanket smoking ban – not once, ever. For three long years there has never been a peep out of any main stream media about this…can you think of one – no I can’t either. I’m angry, bitter and frustrated that no media organization has ever openly taken up our cause.

September 7, 2010 at 11:35 | Unregistered CommenterDavidR

You dare to call me an armchair critic?
You don’t know me, or anything about me. True I don’t have the money to hang out with the movers and shakers – or the money to quaff champagne at Boisdale’s, but that doesn’t mean I’m nothing more than an armchair critic.
1. I’ve been active in my own way since before the ban when it was first muted by harrying my MP at the time who voted for the ban. I questioned him many, many times by email over every detail, I asked him to speak to the health secretary about what information he had about ‘passive smoking’. He put my question in a ballot, but it never got asked – because he was unable to. I have challenged the new MP twice now. He has not returned my second email.
2. I have written to ASH UK, ASH Scotland, BHF, CRUK, asking for detailed information about what biological sequence of events would give rise to lung cancer.

September 7, 2010 at 11:36 | Unregistered CommenterDavidR

1. I have asked for freedom of information from the DOH, on several occasions, to the point where they have become testy about my insistence.
2. I have taken my local county council to task about their smoking policy, this took about a year. I have spoken to Westminster council under a pseudonym creating controversy as best I could, about someone who owns a night club and was defying the ban.
3. I have set up e-petitions two were accepted one was refused. One under my real name, one full of controversy under a pseudonym. I commented under my real name saying how outrageous this proposal was, the link was picked up by an eagle eyed poster…I was almost outed.
4. I have spoken through a website to members of the House of Lords, only one was really helpful with a detailed reply.
5. I have left countless posts on blog sites and with online media under different names, arguing against each other.
6. I have been active on David Milliband’s site.
7. I have been active on the Freedom Site, set up by Nick Clegg…leaving a proposal which attracted many votes.

September 7, 2010 at 11:36 | Unregistered CommenterDavidR

8. I have been active on David Milliband’s site.
9. I have been active on the Freedom Site, set up by Nick Clegg…leaving a proposal which attracted many votes.
10. I have suggested to Colin Grainger who wrote for F2Choose about how the use of placards behind someone being interviewed on college green might get on the news. They could have used smoking signs that I designed. Nothing came of it.
11. I have contacted a well television production company with a view to making a programme. I have written several times.
12. I have left questions on medical expert sites asking detailed questions about SHS, and what evidence they have to validate statements they make about deaths by SHS.
There is more but I think you get the picture. In my own way and as best I can I have been active, I don’t have to be, I could just read the comments and walk away but I don’t. Being a smoker I have more reason to hate this ban than you do, since you don’t smoke.
I have no money – but I still do what I can.
I find it grossly offensive for you to call me an armchair critic…I believe I’ve earned my stripes. You appear to only welcome praise but are not strong enough to take criticism – particularly from a nobody like me.
I would like an apology.

September 7, 2010 at 11:37 | Unregistered CommenterDavidR

As if us smokers didnt know that the smoking ban was the cause of pub closures.
It was obvious to the dogs in the street after six months of the ban in any country.
But think of the money spinner and jobsworths it was for the likes of ASH and anti organisations to spew Big Brother sham statistics and science to us since the ban seeped into our consciousness, not to mention the kudus and votes various govt chancers got out of it to further their shameful careers.
None of these guys gives a shit about our health and dont know what civil liberties even mean, they dont have to, because they are detached from reality and live in a previliged bubble the rest of us will never experience.
The findings of this research is a good thing and congratulations to Save our Pubs & Clubs for having it done and hopefully these figures can be used in the coming battle.
When the smoking ban came in in ireland and the Vintners Assoc was asked for concrete evidence that the smoking ban was affecting pub trade, they always failed to answer, but if the Vintners Assoc was less lazy just like the govt in their big plushy jobs, then england may not have the smoking ban that they now have.
But having said that, they were also under threat at the time by the then Minister of Justice when he threatened that wine bars were going to be licenced as he desired to create a 'cafe society', so maybe there was a trade off.
Anyway, well done guys, way to go.

September 7, 2010 at 11:58 | Unregistered Commenterann

I think David R is a good guy.
Well done you.

September 7, 2010 at 12:10 | Unregistered Commenterann

To Ann

Thank you Ann...thank you very much indeed.

September 7, 2010 at 12:25 | Unregistered CommenterDavidR

DavidR, I disagreed with your statement that "Unless this study reaches the mainstream media then it's little better than useless" which I felt was unhelpful and unnecessarily derogative. I explained why. I don't expect you to apologise. You're entitled to your opinion. So am I, so I suggest we agree to disagree.

I'm delighted to hear that you are an active campaigner. Good luck! (I'd be interested to see some of your letters etc.) The point is, I wouldn't dream of belittling your efforts in the way that you belittled ours. I don't mind criticism (read some of the comments on this blog!) but I prefer it to be constructive. In my opinion your comment wasn't constructive.

PS. I am occasionally criticised by people who think I should play a more pro-active role in the comments section. This is a classic example of why I generally choose not to!!

September 7, 2010 at 12:30 | Registered CommenterSimon Clark

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