A poll of 4,135 adults by think-tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) found that 51% of respondents agreed with the idea, with only 35% opposed.
The smoking ban was introduced in July 2007, covering all pubs, restaurants, private members’ clubs and workplaces without exception. Many licensees have said the ban is the single biggest challenge the trade has faced during that time, and been the main cause of pub closures across the UK.
Pro-smoking groups have long argued for legislation to be amended and allow for smoking in separate or well-ventilated rooms. Seven in 10 respondents to the survey agreed with the statement that ‘individuals should be responsible for their own lifestyle choices and the Government should not interfere’.
A review of the smoking ban was ditched soon after the coalition Government came into power in 2010. A report by the Department of Health the following year claimed the ban had “no clear adverse impact on the hospitality industry”.
A PMA survey of readers in 2012 found almost seven out of 10 licensees wanted the legislation amended to allow smoking rooms in pubs.
The IEA report also asked for people’s views on current levels of tax on alcohol. Two thirds thought the tax on a bottle of wine was too high, while half thought tax on a bottle of vodka was too high. However, just four in 10 (41%) said tax on beer was too high, with a third saying it was ‘about right’.