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Smoking protest pub support 'overwhelming'

By Iain O'Neil , 02-Jul-2007

Related topics: General News

Herefordshire licensee won't 'enforce' ban.

Smoking protest pub support 'overwhelming'

A Herefordshire licensee said support for his smoking ban protest has been "overwhelming".


Tony Blows, who owns the Dog Inn at Ewyas Harold, found his pub at the centre of international media frenzy this weekend because his customers continued to smoke despite the ban.


If someone wants to light up I will tell them it is illegal but I can't put my staff in a position where they might be threatened with violence Licensee, Tony Blows.


Blows said he has "done his bit" by informing all his customers of the law but said he cannot risk the safety of his staff by making them enforce it.


He said: "Because of the Health and Safety Executive's violence in the workplace legislation I can't ask my staff to enforce the ban. If someone wants to light up I will tell them it is illegal but I can't put my staff in a position where they might be threatened with violence.


"If they tell someone to stop smoking and that person rears up I'll tell them to get on with it - we are not going to enforce the law."


Blows said he has had hundreds of messages of support from across the world and is receiving offers of financial help for his protest group Freedom to Choose - which has launched a judicial review of the smoking ban in the High Courts.


He said: "People have even offered to pay my legal costs if I get in trouble with the law. The support has been overwhelming."

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