Further to my post on Monday, here is the cover of the January issue of Club Journal, the monthly newspaper for members of the Working Men's Clubs and Institute Union.
The report reads:
The Union has teamed up with the campaigning organisation Save Our Pubs & Clubs (SOPAC) to step up pressure on the Government to review the smoking ban.
Recent decisions in Denmark and Holland have seen rules relaxed for small bar owners and a recent phone-in on BBC Radio Five Live confirms that the issue is not dead.
General Secretary Mick McGhasham attended a meeting at Westminster recently with Greg Knight, Brian Binley and David Nuttall, all MPs who tried their best to get the Government to allow clubs and pubs to have a smokinq room
The campaign will focus on the ffects that the ban has had on member clubs and pubs - the loss of community networking opportunities for the elderly and ex-servicemen, the failure of the previous government to honour its promise for a formal review of the legislation, and the need for a more balanced approach to the issue of smoking in public places.
SOPAC propose to undertake a social impact study on the effects of the smoking ban as a way to open the debate and reinvigorate the issue and they hope the campaign will focus on clubs and pubs being allowed a separate smoking room with appropriate ventilation.
The Union General Secretary emphasised that, along with below-cost supermarket alcohol pricing and excessive reglation, the smoking ban has been a key part in the demise of clubs.
The Union feels that only by joining other organisations and groups with a similar desire to save clubs will it be in a position to help the many failing clubs in membership.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group is also planning a campaign, along with other groups in Parliament representing similar organisations, to rally support and lobby government to take some positive action to help clubs stay open.
Another local paper has been in touch for a quote about the clubs joining our campaign. I told them:
"We are delighted that the clubs are supporting the campaign to amend the smoking ban.
"The smoking ban is a huge issue for many clubs. It's not the only reason that many are struggling to stay in business but it's a significant factor.
"For decades people have enjoyed a drink and a smoke in a warm, comfortable, social environment. When that is taken away from them it's inevitable that a many people will stay at home.
"Working men's clubs provide an extremely valuable facility for many local communities. Politicians should be doing everything they can to help them survive, not drive members away.
"All we want is for clubs to be allowed to designate a separate room so that members who choose to can smoke indoors without inconveniencing non-smokers. Is that too much to ask?"