Huge drop in smokers visiting pubs

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Related tags: Smoking ban, Licensees, Cigarette, Vending machine, Bii

Three quarters of licensees have reported a drop in the number of smokers visiting their pubs since the smoking ban was introduced.Nearly half of the...

Three quarters of licensees have reported a drop in the number of smokers visiting their pubs since the smoking ban was introduced.

Nearly half of the 912 licensees who responded to a BII and Federation of Licensed Victuallers Association survey said they had sacked staff as a direct result of the ban. Two thirds said smokers were now making shorter visits to the pub.

"The aim of the ban was to stop smokers from smoking, but all that it seems to have achieved is to stop smokers from going to pubs, encouraging them to stay at home and drink and smoke as much as they like," said John McNamara, BII chief executive.

And Ali Carter, licensee trainer and former BII licensee of the year, added: "A lot of licensees feel they have the rug pulled from under them. The traditional pub, the old-fashioned British pub no longer exists without smokers."

In June exclusive research by The Publican​ revealed 52 per cent of licensees had seen a drop in trade since the ban, but the majority said they would not reverse it and blamed problems on other factors such as the credit crunch and cheap supermarket booze.

The results of the latest survey were published on Monday, the last day of the government's consultation on future tobacco controls.

The BII is urging the government not to bar cigarette vending machines from pubs, which is on its list of proposals.

Vending companies pay licensees between 20p and 25p for each packet of cigarettes sold.

The other options on the table are token-operated or infrared-activated vending machines.

"This is a sledgehammer to crack a nut," said McNamara. "Requesting proof of age, as our members currently demand, is a simple and effective way of dealing with the issue."

Related topics: Legislation

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