M&B lashes food-based Government smoke ban

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Total smoking ban, Smoking, Smoking ban, Tobacco smoking, Mike bramley

by Ewan Turney One of Britain's largest managed operators has told the Govern-ment that a total smoking ban is preferable to its current proposals...

by Ewan Turney

One of Britain's largest managed operators has told the Govern-ment that a total smoking ban is preferable to its current proposals for a ban in premises that prepare and serve food.

Mitchells & Butlers, which operates 2,000 outlets and em-ploys more than 35,000 staff, said that the Government's proposals for a food-based ban would increase binge drinking, create inner-city smoking dens, confuse customers, fail to protect staff and actually allow smoking in more areas than under current industry initiatives.

Pubs and bars managing director Mike Bramley said that if the industry approach, or any variation of it, was rejected then an all out ban would be a better option than a food-based approach. 'In such circumstances we would unequivocally support a total ban with no exemptions, said Bramley.

Despite food sales representing 31% of total sales at M&B last year, the company estimates that it would be forced to withdraw food from a quarter of its estate.

'We strongly believe that this is not in the interests of the customers, the company or the wider public health objectives, said Bramley.

'Under the food-based exemption proposal we would have a far larger proportion of our pubs and our total trading space given over to smoking than under the voluntary commitments that we have made as part of the industry initiative.

The operator stressed that if current proposals became law there would be wide scale kitchen and waiting staff redundancies across the industry in addition to problems recruiting staff to work in non-food smoking pubs because of the increasing awareness of the dangers of passive smoking.

Bramley also lashed out at the 'ridiculous exemption for membership clubs, which could take trade away from community pubs.

'The idea of a membership ballot to decide whether to effectively submit staff to environ- mental tobacco smoke or not is frankly ridiculous, he said. 'Health issues can not be left to determination by a lottery.

Related topics: Legislation, Mitchells & Butlers

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