The Caterer

Smoking proposals a ‘non-decision'

21 November 2005
Smoking proposals a ‘non-decision'

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has attacked the Government's partial smoking ban as a non-decision that will leave 100,000 staff exposed to second-hand smoke.

Giving evidence last week at a Select Committee on smoking, BHA boss Bob Cotton argued there should be no exceptions to a smoking ban in England.

Instead, he said that with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland introducing total bans, UK tourism would be better served if England followed suit.

"What is required is a level playing field throughout the UK, so that overseas visitors and UK residents know exactly what has been decided," said Cotton.

He added that the association was opposed to the proposed exclusion from the ban of pubs that did not serve food, and private member clubs.

"Pubs that serve food may well see their trade seep away into the local non-food pub - thus encouraging exactly what the Government is committed to fighting - rising alcohol consumption and binge drinking."

Cotton also highlighted that defining "food" would be difficult and open to abuse by operators. He also added that it was hard to define a bar area in buildings such as hotels with distinct areas containing both dining and drinking areas.

"As it stands at the moment, the proposal is unworkable and will lead to enormous difficulties in interpretation and serious confusion," Cotton said.

By Chris Druce

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