Smoking ban - the story so far

Related tags Smoking ban Smoking Nick hogan Hamish howitt

JULY 2007It started in England at 6am on July 1, 2007. Rebellious licensees bragged about flouting the smoking ban, with councils initially only...

JULY 2007

It started in England at 6am on July 1, 2007. Rebellious licensees bragged about flouting the smoking ban, with councils initially only sending warning letters to them.

In a poll, 63 per cent of Publican readers said local authoritiesshould not fine licensees who flout the ban.

An intrepid Publican reporter went undercover to visit HeyJo - Dave West's infamous pro-smoking London nightclub where smoking was still taking place.


Blackpool's Hamish Howitt was the first licensee in England to face court action for flouting the ban. He told The Publican he would test the law until the High Court stopped him. Soon after Bolton licensee Nick Hogan became the second licensee hauled before the courts.

The Department of Health reported that 97 per cent of businesses were complying with the ban. Across England, councils issued 142 written warnings with the worst compliance rate being in the South West.


Noise levels linked to smokers being forced outside of pubs led to a multitude of complaints from neighbours. Licensees were urged to put up posters asking customers to be considerate to residents when smoking and to warn neighbours of the times when customers would be using outside spaces.

Wet sales fell in a third of style bars, The Publican's sister publication Theme revealed. A third pointed the finger at the ban's "major impact".


Customer Gerard Hart was fined £100, ordered to pay £235 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to smoking inside Bolton licensee Nick Hogan's Barrister's bar.

The Publican exclusively revealed three out of four licensees wouldn't choose to overturn the smoking ban if they could. A quarter said they had received new customers since the ban and 78 per cent said they despised smoke-ban rebels.

Figures revealed that second-hand smoke exposure for workers in bars and restaurants had fallen by 95 per cent since the start of the ban.


Punch Taverns boss Giles Thorley praised the ban for improving "hundreds" of his pubs. Punch's Scottish pubs had returned to growth some 15 months after the introduction of its smoking ban, he said.


A licensee was forced to rip up £2,000-worth of decking after the council told her it breached health and safety regulations. The structure was too near to the car park to be 'safe' and though Kelly Calvert of the Edge in Poulton, Lancashire, believed the land was unregistered, the council claimed it as its own.


Nick Hogan vowed to fight an order to pay £10,000 for letting people smoke in his pub. Hogan represented himself in court, controversially announcing:

'If I was a drug dealer doing small amounts of cocaine I would probably only get a slap on the wrists.' A Publican reporter attended a smoking lock-in at an unnamed pub. She also spoke to a law-abiding licensee whose takings fell from £1,200 a week to just £600 as smokers left his pub for law-breaking ones.

Barnsley Council was forced to back-track on controversial plans to ban smoking outside town-centre venues after industry representatives intervened.


Tony Blows, of the Dog Inn, Herefordshire, was fined £1,075 and ordered to pay court costs of £10,807 - the biggest-ever pay-out for a smoking ban rebel. "It's absolutely pathetic," he said. "I could smoke and sell crack cocaine and get a slap on the wrist or knock down a child at a zebra crossing and get a suspended sentence."

Hamish Howitt appealed against a £4,000 fine after being found guilty of letting people smoke in Del Boy¹s bar for the seventh time. Against the odds he won the case and said: "I told the judge I would keep smoking and she said if she could close me on that she would, but there is no provision in law to do that."

Pub owner Chris Rustage's Old Nag's Head scooped the Pride of Manchester Pub of the Year award after axing some of his pub¹s accommodation to make way for a rooftop smoking space.


A licensee faced a £50,000 court case after his neighbours claimed customer noise and the smell from a smoking shelter at his pub was stopping the sale of their flat. Shane Radmore who runs the Silverton Inn in Silverton, Devon, said: "It's bonkers. It's not my fault they are finding it difficult to sell their flat for what they are asking."

Two petitions were launched on the 10 Downing Street website. One saw nearly 4,000 people call on Gordon Brown to amend the smoking ban to allow pubs to apply for smoking licences. But another, which only had 40 signatures when The Publican went to press at the time, asked smokers to be banned from beer gardens.


Northern Irish licensees were warned they faced a 'bleak outlook' a year on from the introduction of their smoking ban. Stephen Kelly, chief executive of the Federation of Retail Licensed Trade Northern Ireland, said: "The much-promised march of non-smokers has not materialised" and warned that seven per cent of pubs will shut over the next two years as a result.

The government unveiled its Future of Tobacco Council plans which include outlawing vending machines and packs of 10 cigarettes.

Staffordshire licensee Dave Westwood was told his innovative smoking shelters, made from shipping containers, were not in keeping with the conservation area in which the pub is located.


Hamish Howitt was convicted of four more smoking ban offences costing £250 each plus £1,000 in court costs. His wife Joanne was also told to pay £1,000. Nevertheless, Howitt said he plans to launch a new political party, Freedom 4 Choice alongside fellow rebel, Nick Hogan.

Non-smoking licensee Jeremy Westcott, of the Bell in Buckland Dinham, Somerset, held his pub's inaugural tobacco and cider festival. He even arranged for NHS quit smoking leaflets to be distributed to help any revellers who might use the festival as their swan song to the cigarette.

Related topics Legislation

Property of the week


- Leasehold

Village position close to Reading and Newbury Extensively renovated public house Bar, conservatory, snug and function room (80-90) Four en suite letting bedrooms Two bedroom owner/staff accommodation Part-covered trade garden...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more