Smoking ban in UK pubs will lead to job losses

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Banning smoking in UK pubs could lead to a huge drop in trade and a loss of jobs according to new evidence.This news comes after licensees in...

Banning smoking in UK pubs could lead to a huge drop in trade and a loss of jobs according to new evidence.

This news comes after licensees in Australia complained that a smoking ban in many pubs and bars had a devastating affect on trade and forced them to cut jobs.

If the UK government enforces a ban, it could have the same disastrous impact in Britain.

The state government of Victoria slapped a ban on smoking in gaming rooms from the beginning of September, which affected many pubs and bars in the area. Just a couple of months before, it had banned smoking in restaurants and licensed trade associations say the consequent fall in food and bar sales is threatening jobs.

Margaret Kearney, director of trade body Clubs Victoria, said: "When you're going to introduce cultural change, you have to be a little bit sensitive to that other very important culture we like - jobs.

The regulations haven't stopped anyone from smoking. We've just driven smokers to places where they can smoke." The Charter Group's Nick Bish said: "Generally the concern is that trade will drop if smoking in pubs is not allowed and that some customers will decide not to go to pubs as a result.

"If you look at The Publican Newspaper's Market Report 2002, respondents believe that business would drop by 39 per cent."

But he said the trade was well on track, with more and more companies signing up to the charter and that there would be a reprot available at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Six Continents has pledged that almost all its 2,000-plus UK pubs will be compliant with the industry smoking charter by the end of October.

Bob Cartwright, communications director of Six Continents Retail, said: "We're just in the final stages of the programme and there may be a few pubs which need additional work which will carry over into early November.

"However, we can confirm that the vast majority of our pubs will be fully compliant by the end of October, ahead of the industry target of January 2003."

The comments follow criticism by the Atmosphere Improves Results (AIR) initiative that some major pub operators are not acting quickly enough to comply.

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