No smoke without

Scottish Executive unanimously decides to ban smoking in public enclosed places. Scotland’s First Minister, Jack McConnell, said there would be an international marketing campaign whereby “tourists can enjoy smoke free environment and the sick man of Europe image becomes a thing of the past”. To which I can only say four words: Deep. Fried. Mars. Bars.
Seriously, though, what’s the betting that there’ll be similar legislation in the rest of the UK within three to five years? And what impact will it have on pubs, particularly those more rural pubs that are important to their community but already struggling?

7 Replies to “No smoke without”

  1. I’d say it was more or less inevitable for the UK. In New York it’s been in place for a while, and the weird thing about pubs with no smoke? They smell of all the other things in pubs – namely, stale beer and musty, sweaty people.

    Rural impact will be difficult to predict. The income from selling cigs in machines isn’t that great anyway, but the sensation of not being welcoming is another matter entirely.

  2. Yeh, I was thinking more about atmosphere. I’ve never smoked, but being in a smoky atmosphere always makes me crave beer – mental association, I guess.
    Apparently the smoke-free bars in Dublin are completely changed – by all accounts, you can now see the terrible decor and smell the stench from the loos.

  3. Impact on rural pubs? I think you have to ask yourself – why are the pubs struggling just now? Is it perhaps because there’s something about them that makes people not want to go? Maybe the fact that rural pubs are generally frequented by stuck in yester-year CAMRA old farts makes these places less-than-popular for the remaining 99% of the community? By the way, “CAMRA” in this sentence is interchangeable with “UKIP” or “fox huunting advocate” or “anti-development”

  4. Sweeping statement there, David. I advocate CAMRA’s aims, yet oppose UKIP’s aims, am ambivalent about fox hunting and feel that development in necessary but should be controlled.
    Having spent many years frequenting rural pubs, and also being friendly with a former chair of the Small Independent Brewers Association, I think your comments are misguided.
    Rural pubs are struggling because people are being drawn to other attractions and are finding other ways to spend their "leisure pound" – ranging from going to city centre pubs, visitng cinemas, staying in to watch TV and, most importantly, buying beer and wine in off-licences and supermarkets to drink at home. They also face pressure from property developers seeking development sites in locations where sites rarely become available.
    I’m not saying that stopping smoking in rural pubs would put gazillions of them out of business. But I do think that it would be another negative pressure on these important rural businesses.

  5. Good point about the rural pubs, but surely it is down to them to make their establishments more appealing. Whether you agree or not I think that social change is the reason these pubs are under so much pressure. The idea of a ‘local’ is alien to so many people these days that it’s no wonder there is no sense of loss when the “wee pub” shuts down. Not saying this is a good thing, but don’t think the smoking ban will have that big an effect although it may be the final nail I guess.

  6. Mark – I’m afraid that Protest Warrior is one of the most utterly misguided and foolish campaigns I’ve seen. I thought you were more intelligent than to support this rubbish. Don’t get me started on it – although, just to tackle their homepage, I would like to point out that war didn’t defeat communism. Instead, social and economic change has more or less defeated communism (it is, after all, alive and kicking in some form in many countries). Protest Warrior seems to be more about American isolationism, xenophobia and prejudice than anything. I’m not anti-War, btw. But I feel that the current campaign in Iraq is, at best, ill-conceived.

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