News & Comment

Public split on allowing separate smoking rooms in pubs and clubs

Thu 29th June, 2017

Public opinion is split on whether to allow separate, well-ventilated smoking rooms in pubs and private members' clubs, including working men's clubs.

A poll conducted for the smokers' group Forest ahead of the tenth anniversary of the smoking ban on Saturday 1st July found that 48 per cent of adults would allow smoking rooms in pubs and clubs, with 42 per cent opposed to the idea. [Nine per cent said 'Don't know'.]

A majority of men were in favour of allowing smoking rooms (54 per cent versus 38 per cent). Among women the figures were 43 per cent in favour and 46 per cent against.

The results follow a similar poll in Wales in March that found that 58 per cent of adults in Wales thought pubs and private members’ clubs, including working men’s clubs, should be allowed to provide a well-ventilated designated smoking room to accommodate smokers.

A new report published by Forest this week revealed that there are 11,383 fewer pubs in England compared to 2006, a decline of 20.7 per cent since the smoking ban was introduced on 1st July 2007.

London alone has 2,034 fewer pubs than in 2006, the North West has lost 1,788, Yorkshire is down by 1,589 and the South East has a net loss of 1,013.

But the biggest decline in pub numbers has been in the Midlands where there are 2,560 fewer pubs than before the smoking ban, a drop of 23.7 per cent.

While the fall in the number of pubs is part of a long-term trend and is not solely due to the smoking ban, the report found there was a clear acceleration in pub closures after the ban was enforced, with pubs in poorer urban areas suffering most.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: "It's a fallacy to suggest the smoking ban is immensely popular. Polls have consistently found significant support for smoking rooms in pubs and clubs.

"The impact of the smoking ban on pubs has been devastating. There's no question it's been a significant factor in the continued demise of the British pub.

"The tenth anniversary of the smoking ban is nothing to celebrate. It's a terrible indictment of successive governments and their refusal to compromise or engage with ordinary people."

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