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Bar staff health alert as pubs ditch food

19 May 2005

Government proposals to stub out smoking in pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants won't protect the health of thousands of bar workers, according to new research.

Last autumn the then health secretary, John Reid, claimed Government plans to ban smoking in all pubs, bars and restaurants that served food would mean just 10% to 30% of the UK's 65,000 pubs would avoid smoking restrictions.

But a report from the British Medical Association (BMA) has revealed that far more pubs and bars than originally predicted will continue to allow smoking by ditching their food offering.

Thirteen of the 29 local authority areas surveyed by the BMA exceeded the Government's predictions for outlets which would continue to allow smoking.

Pressure group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said: "Despite bar staff being identified as one of the groups most at risk from second-hand smoke, and the fact that you find more smokers in pubs in poorer areas, the Government's current proposals fail to address this."

Leeds was top of the table with 532 pubs (88%) not currently serving food, while the London Borough of Bromley in Kent looks set to stub out smoking entirely, as only 5% of its pubs don't serve food.

Hospitality workers in the Midlands and North of England are likely to suffer more than their southern peers, with 10 of the cities and towns exceeding the Government's estimates located there.

But Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers' Associations, refuted suggestions that northern pubs would become smoking dens. "There will be pubs in which customers can smoke - but even in these, smoking will be banned at the bar counter," he said.

Food-free pubs in…

  • Leeds, 532 (88%)
  • Stoke, 136 (51%)
  • Lambeth, 95 (49%)
  • Chesterfield, 76 (48%)
  • Sunderland, 99 (43%)
  • Bradford, 182 (42%)
  • Macclesfield, 89 (42%)
  • Oldham, 122 (41%)
  • Mansfield, 33 (38%)
  • Doncaster, 136 (36%)
  • Brighton and Hove, 113 (35%)
  • Calderdale, 104 (34%)
  • Dover, 52 (32%)

Wales A ban on smoking in Wales took a step closer last week with the National Assembly's Committee on Smoking in Public Places recommending its prohibition. The committee concluded there was overwhelming evidence that environmental tobacco was damaging to health, but no proof that a ban would have a negative overall economic effect. The National Assembly will now seek powers to legislate from Westminster.

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