News & Comment

Forest condemns Local Government Association call to ban smoking outside pubs, cafes and restaurants

Sat 18th July, 2020

CAMPAIGNERS CONDEMN LGA CALL TO BAN SMOKING OUTSIDE PUBS, CAFES AND RESTAURANTS DURING CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

Campaigners have reacted with alarm to proposals to ban smoking outside pubs, cafes and restaurants.

Peers have tabled an amendment to the government's Business and Planning Bill that would allow local authorities to issue pavement licences to pubs, cafes and restaurants but only on condition that smoking is prohibited.

The proposal to ban smoking in outdoor areas is supported by the Local Government Association.

Restaurateur and TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson said:

“Why on earth would the Lords and LGA want to discourage a substantial number of people from returning to pubs, cafes and restaurants?

“For smokers it is one of the few remaining pleasures, sitting al fresco, minding their own business, enjoying a glass of wine or a pint of beer.

“Allow landlords and customers to make up their own minds. It’s all a matter of choice.

“The government needs to show it is serious about standing up for the hospitality sector and reject this proposal."

Ranald Macdonald, managing director of Boisdale Restaurants in London, said:

“It is bewildering how out of touch the Lords and LGA can be. They are sounding the death knell for a hospitality sector that is already on life support and needs all the help it can get to survive.

"The smoking ban in 2007 caused thousands of pubs and restaurants to close. Now, at a time when over a million jobs in hospitality are at risk of being lost due to the pandemic, this proposed new ban will definitely cause hundreds of thousands more livelihoods to be lost.

"Whatever happened to freedom of choice? The proposed ban will simply mean that more people will smoke and drink at home, something they have become quite used to of late."

Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, said:

"This is insane. There is absolutely no justification for government to intervene on public health grounds because there is no evidence that smoking outside is a significant risk to non-smokers.

"Government should be reducing red tape, not adding to it with arbitrary regulations that can only hurt the hospitality industry."

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