Group aims to stamp out cowboy ventilation operators

Related tags Tobacco smoking Smoking Atmosphere

The Air Cleaner Manufacturers' Association (ACMA) is hoping to stamp out cowboy operators within its industry with the launch of a new...

The Air Cleaner Manufacturers' Association (ACMA) is hoping to stamp out cowboy operators within its industry with the launch of a new initiative.

Concern had been growing that an increasing number of licensees were falling prey to rogue air cleaner companies who were selling them poor standard equipment at an over-inflated price.

But a new certification initiative will see all equipment made by members of ACMA independently tested and then stamped with a logo so that publicans can see it meets the required standards.

A rash of cowboy operators sprung up following the introduction of the industry's charter on smoking, which recommends the use of signage with no-smoking areas and ventilation where possible.

The charter prompted many pubs to look at improving their atmosphere through the use of ventilation and air cleaners but a lack of knowledge about the sector left some out of pocket.

Now ACMA members' products will be independently tested by the BSRIA testing house before they are approved for use in pubs.

ACMA chairman Ian Hegley said: "Our members have invested in independent certification so that customers can buy with confidence. We hope to put an end to the white van trade part of the market."

Nick Bish, chairman of the trade's charter group, said: "Licensees entering into contracts with manufacturers in the past have been overwhelmed by the technology involved in this sector.

"This professional approach is to be welcomed and will offer licensees reassurance."

Although he added that publicans should still bear in mind that air cleaners are only part of the solution and are not essential in all outlets.

They are most useful in corners or backrooms where airflow is slow and smoke can collect.

The new certification scheme covers the particle removal rate (how effective the equipment is at removing tobacco smoke), the airflow rate and the noise the machine makes.

Mr Hegley added: "If you are going to invest in cleaning up your air, you've got to understand what you are buying."

The distinctive ACMA and BSRIA logos are likely to become a familiar sight in pubs clubs and restaurants over the coming months.

The trade has agreed a target of 50 per cent charter compliance by 2003 with 35 per cent of these pubs using best practice by offering no-smoking areas and ventilation.

Oliver Griffiths, spokesman for the Atmosphere Improves Results initiative, said: "This is obviously good news in that if someone buys an air cleaner they now have some sort of guarantee that it is going to do what it says it does."

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