March 22, 2007

Warnings before the smoking ban

It’s nearly a year since smoking was banned in Scottish pubs, and warnings from the landlords should be listened to south of the border.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association said pubs had suffered “collateral damage” from the smoking ban, and had been forgotten in the wrangling between tobacco companies and the Executive.

Drink sales had fallen 11% and food sales – expected to rise by some – had also fallen, by 3%. Only around 530 pubs responded to the survey by the SLTA, but the lack of help made available to small businesses rings true with the situation in Wales and England, where smoking will be banned in April and July respectively.

In Wales, small businesses have been screaming for help, but the only visible signs have been leaflets informing landlords and business owners of their duties once the ban comes in. The Scottish experience seems to suggest that local councils haven’t been sympathetic to planning applications for outside amenities for smokers.

Some good news comes from the survey though. Services which help people quit smoking had seen a big increase in the number of calls from the public, suggesting the ban might trigger some people to quit.

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