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Industry survey backs total ban on smoking

15 December 2005

Hospitality workers want employers to stub out smoking at work, according to new research conducted by Caterer.

An online survey completed by about 200 hospitality professionals found that the vast majority (78%) backed a total ban over a partial one.

The research, conducted on the magazine's website, CatererSearch.com, also showed that most workers would choose to work for an employer with a smoke-free policy over one that allows smoking to continue. Two-thirds (66%) of respondents said they would leave their current employer if they didn't go smoke-free after the introduction of a partial ban in England during 2007.

More than three-quarters (77%) admitted this would see them choosing an employer with a smoke-free policy over one without when job hunting.

The British Hospitality Association predicts 100,000 workers will remain exposed to passive smoke when a partial ban kicks in. A spokesman said: "The Irish experience showed that bar workers felt much better post-ban. Given a choice, I'm sure some UK workers will leave smoke-filled environments to get a job elsewhere."

Nearly two-thirds (62%) think they should be paid more for working in a smoky environment, and nearly half (47%) would take a pay cut to escape the smog. Of those who had worked in a smoky environment, 53% said their health had suffered.

Mitchells & Butlers director of public affairs Simon Ward said: "The results of this highly useful survey support M&B's own position that an outright ban is, without doubt, preferable to the Government's current proposals."

Those proposals will see non-food pubs and private clubs exempted from a ban on smoking in all enclosed public places in England from the middle of 2007.

Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control, said: "The Government's suggestion that the health of bar workers should be dictated by the type of food served at their workplace makes no sense. A partial ban would leave thousands of workers unprotected from the serious health risks posed by second-hand smoke."

Key findings

  • 66% agreed they would look to leave their job if their employer allowed smoking to continue.

  • 77% would choose an employer with a smoke-free policy over one without when changing jobs.

  • 62% expect to be paid more to work in a smoky environment.

  • 47% would take a pay cut to avoid a smoky workplace.

  • 78% of staff want a total, rather than partial, ban.

By Chris Druce

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