Last ditch attempt to stop full smoke ban

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Related tags: Total smoking ban, Smoking ban

Lobbyists have mounted a last ditch attempt to persuade MPs to vote against a total smoking ban - claiming public opinion is opposed to blanket...

Lobbyists have mounted a last ditch attempt to persuade MPs to vote against a total smoking ban - claiming public opinion is opposed to blanket action.

Clean air initiative Atmosphere Improves Results (AIR) and pro-smoking group FOREST have both released surveys showing the majority of bar workers and the public are against an outright ban.

MPs are due to vote on the smoking legislation after the third reading of the Health Bill tomorrow (Tuesday).

According to AIR's survey of 250 licensees and 250 barstaff, exclusively revealed to The Publican:

  • 73 per cent support plans to allow smoking in pubs which do not serve food - the government's original proposal
  • 24 per cent favour a total ban
  • 81 per cent thought pubs should be able to apply for a smoking licence.

"This is the second time in six months that we have surveyed licensees and barstaff on smoking in public places," said Oliver Griffiths, director of AIR.

"The results could not have been clearer. While the trade accepts the need for increased restrictions on smoking in public places, it doesn't want a total ban."

Meanwhile, FOREST's figures show that 59 per cent of people believe smoking should be allowed in pubs that don't serve food, while 63 per cent think it should be allowed in private clubs.

Designated smoking rooms in pubs that do not serve food also gained support, with 66 per cent in favour and 30 per cent against.

Simon Clark, director of FOREST, said: "We urge MPs to support the government's partial ban or vote for an amendment that would allow designated smoking rooms in pubs and bars," he added.

However, the FOREST figures have been disputed by Cancer Research.

Jean King, the lobby group's director of tobacco control, said the results "flew in the face of the overall body of evidence".

"Repeated independent polls have shown an increasing and overwhelming majority of the public - currently more than 70 per cent - is in favour of a smoke-free law without any exemptions," she added.

Related topics: Legislation

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