More than 6,000 pubs in the UK could close in the next five years if they do not deal with the impact of the smoking ban and the current squeeze on customer spending.
According to a report by consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2,000 pubs could cease trading in 2008 alone as the industry continues to struggle to adjust a year after the smoking ban was introduced throughout the UK.
Michael Jervis, advisory partner at PwC, said: "Since our original prediction last year, the rate of pub closures has accelerated: we now expect to see 6,000 pubs closing by 2012.
Meanwhile a Cancer Research study has revealed that 400,000 people in the UK have quit smoking a year after the ban. The charity estimates 40,000 lives have been saved by the legislation.
The smoking ban was introduced throughout the UK on 1 July 2007, when England came into line with public smoking bans in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Cancer Research's figures come days before a Department of Health survey, which is expected to reveal that 234,060 people quit smoking between April and December 2007.
Approximately 22% of the adult population in the UK smoke.
By Chris Walton
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