Time to quit the Smoking Ban? — 28 Comments

  1. I wouldn’t necessarily agree that the smoking ban is the biggest factor in the closing of pubs.  I think that the change in attitude to drink driving, and the high cost of drink have had a bigger impact.  It would be interesting to see some stats on how many of the 1000+ pubs that closed were in areas that were difficult to get to without a car.
    My father-in-law used to visit his local regularly on a Saturday night, but it required transport to get there.  As he needs his driving license for work, and when you add together the cost of drink and getting a taxi, he just gave up going, and had a drink at home instead.

  2. Most people in England are within walking distance of several pubs. So I don’t think its a transport issue.  It sure as hell is here though.

  3. FYI  Your edit and cancel comment tool isn’t working. I tried to cancel one some time ago I thought was particularly offensive, even by my standards, and today I tried to correct the typing error. After clicking on ‘save’  it just times out over 4+ minutes and then nothings fixed.

  4. Yeah, it is worth it to me, but I work for the EPA in Boston, just back from Dublin, where Templebar’s pubs and streets were teeming with people, and I did not see many smoking outside the pubs either, perhaps the Irish are giving up the fags, can only be a good thing..

    I remember coming in from a night out in pubs in Ireland, my coat, my sweater, my shirt and even the t-shirt reeked of the smoke..

    My take, for what its worth.

  5. Frank – No one knows the precise reason for the fall off in trade, but the government likes to cite the tougher drink-driving laws.  Of course that is to their benefit, so they are never going to publish the actual figures.  Another smoke-screen?  😉

    TT – Bugger!  I’ll see if I can find a better editor?  Just for you?

    Seamus – As an employee of the EPA, maybe you can come up with some hard evidence that passive smoking is harmful?  The probable reason you didn’t see many smokers outside the pubs is they have simply given up going to pubs?

    Thrifty – If you are going to go down the Green path – what about the impact of the multitude of patio heaters in pubs’ back yards?

  6. True, but they are only put there for smokers comfort, unnecessary in my view 🙂
    I like the ban, without it the Sandyford House would lose my occasional custom as I would revert to exclusively drinking at home.

  7. Thrifty – So, for arguments sake – you see nothing wrong with excluding over a quarter of the population from pubs, simply because they make a bit of a smell?

  8. Having been reading all the remarks, certainly is a hot topic.
    Would smokers avoid pubs and drink because they had to smoke outside ? not sure, I think the drink is worth the fun, but then both drink and smoke are addictive.  Will smokers become more American like and drink at home more ?
    In Massachusetts, one cannot smoke in a place that serves food, but my local in Lawrence, which only has crisps/nuts on the wall, smoking is allowed.  I am not on the scientific side of the EPA, so have no data to back that up.  Am not a smoker either.  Surely smoke and drink in moderation is a good thing, though easier said than done, all the time 😉

  9. I’m not convinced by how useful these new figures are, because there were something like half a million immigrants in that period between 2002 and 2009. Now, I don’t know how many stayed, of course, but even as it stands, and allowing for stereotypes, I think this 29% figure must almost certainly be swollen by the huge numbers of smoking Poles, Russians, Latvians, Romanians, etc. I have a feeling that if you discount this influx of smokers from the statistics, you’d see a real decline.
    As for pubs, I don’t buy it. It may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but pubs have been under serious pressure since at least 1994. I was a loungeboy and a barman back then, and the trade magazines we had around the shop made much of how the on-trade was in serious decline and the off-trade was supplanting it. The smoking ban’s been a factor, but I think it needs to be seen as just one ingredient in a recipe of changing population patterns, the cost of mortgages, the possibilities offered by houses that are nicely furnished, changes in attitudes to drink driving, a real decline in service quality in pubs, improved selections in off-licenses, and above all the extortionate cost of drinking in pubs.
    Hello, by the way. Have been reading for yonks, but haven’t got round to commenting before.

  10. While I normally don’t like the Nanny state we live in today, I do make an exception for the smoking bans. Before them I seldom went out to bars and restaurants. After watch my father died a horrible death from cancer I refuse to be around anyone who smokes. Even in restaurants with so called non smoking areas, the stench was every where.
    After telling us for years that smoking bans would cause restaurants and bars to close, most found out that business increased as non smokers like myself started going out again. The poor economy we currently are experiencing is another story. Many places are closing as fewer people can afford to eat out or even drink.

  11. The bars with the best outside smoking facilities round our way get most of the business, so i guess that’s a good indicator. The ban isn’t making people give up, those that do pack it in do it for other reasons.
    Up till recently we also had a landlady in her late 90s, always had a smoke herself, and when the ban came if you fancied one she’d quietly whisper ‘pop  into the parlour dear, take your drink with you’.  Now that’s what i call humanity!

  12. Seamus – When you think of a cold wet windy winter’s night, standing outside a pub doorway, feezing your nuts off is not a particularly pleasent way to spend a social evening.   I grant you that things are different in the summer when the craic outside the pub is generally a hundred times better that staying inside.  I know personally of at least two people who have taken up having the odd fag so they can ‘legitanately’ join in the fun!!

    Pubs have not been their own best friends over the last few years.  Prices have been unreasonably high, and their idea of ‘features to attract more customers’ generally consist of sticking up more fucking televisions.  However I do think the ban is a major contributing factor to the decline.

    Welcome in from the cold, Thirsty!  I grant you, you may have something with the immigration factor.  I suppose the only way to find out is to wait for another census.  My main argument though, that as passive smoking has no proven effect on people’s health, and that there hasn’t been a drastic reduction in smoking trends [even allowing for the removal of immigrants from the figures?] that a reversal or modification of the ban could revive our hospitality trade somewhat?  We wouldn’t be the first country to roll back on the severity of the ban.

    Jim C – Now I have to call on you to account for your statement that “most found out that business increased as non smokers like myself started going out again“.  Where in God’s name did you get that from?  The only place I have seen a claim like that is on an ASH website.  For a while, ASH tried to claim that custom increased, but even they recanted and admitted that their figures were wrong.  I completely empathise with your reasons for disliking smoking and I fully respect them.  However there is no reason whatsoever why there can’t be segregated areas for smokers [I nearly said for non-smokers!].  I would no more wish to force my smoking on you, just as I would hope you would not wish to force your preferences on me?

  13. Mick – You got stuck in moderaton again!  [Moderation in all things?].  It would make a very interesting survey – to question pubs on the trade downturn, but taking into account their outside facilities.  There’s a job for you now….

    As for your 90 year old landlady – fair play to her.  An Irish solution to an Irish problem.

  14. Good luck with rolling back the ban, if the pubs are hurting that badly, then perhaps it will happen..

  15. The whole idea of banning smoking in pubs is stupid. It makes sense for restaurants, because when I used to smoke on a daily basis even I found it annoying that when I was eating, someone at the table behind me was smoking. But with a proper ventilation setup you could create smoke free zones if need be. Smoke can’t travel against the wind, although those rabid anti-smoking guys seem to think so. The only thing I like about the ban is that in 25% of the time I could where my clothes again the next day. The thing is; I don’t usually where the same clothes 2 days in a row. And how many times did you manage to survive a night in a crowded pub without someone spilling some drink on your shirt? So your clothes would have to be washed anyway.
    Smoking is bad for your health? So is stress. And stress doesn’t even create income for the government, so I guess it is time to ban stress. Let’s start by creating a place where people can relax and enjoy themselves. Put your feet up, have a nice beer and light up a good sigar. We will call those places Pubs. Unlike other groups of people, we will be very tolerant to people with a different opinion. When somebody wants to complain about smoking (which results in stress  and that is bad for our health), we will not kick them out into the raing but create a nice soundproof room for them where they can cry on each others shoulder.

  16. Group-think again. I see no problem with my life being a little bit better. See, sounds a lot nicer to me 🙂

  17. Brian – I couldn’t agree with you more.  I have no problem at all with the idea of non-smoking restaurants and cafes.  There is nothing worse than trying to enjoy a good meal, when someone is smoking a pungent cigar at the next table.  It is all down to tolerence, and frankly, I just can’t tolerate the anti-smoking brigade!!

  18. Ignore stats on smoking going down after bans. The best I saw was ‘bar staff 80% healthier since ban’ headline a year after the ban was introduced. The only way that could be measured and attributed to a ban on smoking was if all Dublin bar staff had been kept in a clinical environment for one year after the ban. And how does someone become 80% healthier?

    Why not 79%? Or 81%?

    The other leg gets pulled when some eejit notices a drop in sales of cigarettes via official sources (ie taxable sources).

    What they forget is that people will move to buying rolling tobacco instead of manufactured and will also start buying from unofficial sources instead of taxable sources.

    Everyone is a winner. The govt gets to announce less people are smoking (rubbish) and people like those at the College of Surgeons get a hard-on because they think they are the new government.

  19. Cap’n – I love it!  Another statistic plucked from thin [but smokey?] air.  Where the hell to they get these figures from?  How do you even define “healthier”?  Were 80% more of them suddenly able to run a marathon?

  20. Was in Brussels in January, walked into a bar, ordered 2 large Stellas, barman came back with them and an ashtray. Herself was totally gobsmacked and asked the barman “Can we smoke?” He replied “That’s what the ashtray is for !” We later found out that smoking in the bar was a landlord’s choice, but no food could be served. What a sensible solution, and this in the very stronghold of the Eurocrats !

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