Our report, Smoking gun: is the smoking ban a major cause of the decline of the British pub?, was released in Scotland this morning and was immediately picked up by the Press Association north of the border.
Since then we've been handling a number of media enquiries. BBC Radio Scotland wanted me to go on their lunchtime news programme but I was en route to Birmingham so, instead, I'll be talking about the report on Newsdrive later this afternoon. Fingers crossed, the story will also appear in one or two newspapers in Scotland tomorrow.
H/T to Dave Atherton for the links above.
Update: The Scotsman is also reporting the story. Radio Scotland, Forth One and Radio Borders have been running the story in their news bulletins.
A feature of our press release to the Scottish media was this quote by Paul Waterson, president of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association:
"This research shows how badly Scottish pubs have been hit by the indoor smoking ban, cut-price supermarket competition and regulation. Pubs are still going out of business every week and yet we hear calls for outdoor smoking bans and even more regulation.
"Scotland's pubs are a national asset that are in peril because of unfair competition and ill-thought through regulation. It is time for the Executive to have a joined up approach that aims to help our industry and the major role it has in the economy and society, not allow it to be driven into the ground."
The Publican has ASH's response to the report:
Amanda Sandford, research manager ASH, said: "Despite claims to the contrary, there is no evidence of overall harm to the licensed trade.
"In fact, alcohol on-sales licences increased by five per cent in the first year following the smoking ban.”
She claimed the survey was "misleading" and does not reflect the "reality of the licensed trade".
"True, many traditional pubs have closed, but more licensed premises have opened in recent years that now sell food as well as alcohol,” she added.
You can comment HERE.
The pub is the heart of a community. The smoking ban has been a disaster for many pubs in Scotland and if we don't want a great many more to shut we need to find ways to accommodate smokers in a comfortable environment otherwise they will simply stay at home.
This is not about infringing on the rights of non-smokers to enjoy a night out in a smoke-free environment. It's about providing choice for everyone - licensees, bar staff and customers, smokers and non-smokers alike.
It's been designated a 'premium' piece so unless you're a subscriber that's your lot! You can however read the following case study: 'I did a survey, 95% of my punters smoked'.
See also: Scottish Daily Express. The Herald, Scottish Daily Mail and Press and Journal have the story in their print editions but not online.