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AWT's smoking campaign fails to catch fire

09 July 2009 by
AWT's smoking campaign fails to catch fire

Industry bodies have slammed Antony Worrall Thompson's Save Our Pubs and Clubs campaign to overturn the 2007 smoking ban, claiming it is "too late to turn back the clock".

The campaign, launched ahead of next year's Government review, calls for pubs to be able to choose whether their venues are smoking or non-smoking and provide sealed smoking rooms with modern ventilation systems.

But Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA), said that to reverse the ruling "would open up enormous difficulties".

"The BHA supported the ban, not least because employees affected by the smoke were taking their former employers to court. It may have impacted on businesses, but I don't see how amending the ban can practically work."

A spokesman for the British Beer & Pub Association added that the industry has moved on since the ban. "The industry has adapted to the challenge. Pubs have invested £100m on outside smoking areas and there is no going back now," he said.

Worrall Thompson admitted that restaurants should remain smoke-free, but that pubs not serving food should have the right to choose.

"People were meant to flock back to pubs after the ban, but where are they? Outside smoking areas create noise pollution, and many pubs and bars are open until three in the morning. Indoor ventilation systems can remove up to 90% of fumes. Landlords opposed to the ban should campaign to their local MP."

  • Worrall Thompson is due to reopen the Greyhound pub in Rotherfield Peppard, Oxfordshire, next week. He has bought back the troubled property six months after it went into administration.

Antony Worrall Thompson forced to close restaurants >>

Smoking ban has been bad for business, say pubs one year on >>

6,000 pubs face closure due to UK smoking ban >>

By Emma White

E-mail your comments to Emma White here.

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