Ten-years on, though, and attitudes have completely reversed, with many preferring the family-friendly gastropub that has proven to be so successful since the ban’s introduction.
As we approach the 10-year-anniversary of the policy, Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest) published its report Road to Ruin? The impact of the smoking ban on pubs and personal choice yesterday (26 June).
In response to the findings, report author Rob Lyons said the Government should “order a full review of the impact of the legislation and consider alternatives to the current comprehensive plan”.
No more stinky clothes
However, reaction on the Morning Advertiser’s Facebook and Twitter pages suggest that most would not like to go back to the old ways.
Caroline Langlands wrote on Facebook: “It's nice to come home from a night out not stinking of dirty fags,” with Alana Simpson agreeing, wrote: “We don't need to go back to the days of stinking like a rancid ashtray”.
Others, however, appeared to recognise the harm the ban has done to the pub industry over the years.
Tim Parker, who describes himself as a “semi pro-musician playing the pub and club circuit for many years”, said he has noticed a big difference since the ban came in.
On Facebook he wrote: “Before the ban it was very easy to build a rapport over the evening with the audience.
“After the ban it's almost impossible if there are many smokers there.
“At one gig recently we took a break to join the smokers outside. The landlord was smoking too. There was 30 of us outside smoking, looking through the windows of a completely empty pub.”
Killed off ‘proper pubs’
Also commenting on Facebook, Paul Crisp said: “We were told our pubs would fill up with hordes of non-smokers. We're still waiting.”
Another Morning Advertiser reader, Johnny Tee, said he missed being able to smoke in the pub, claiming that “the ban has killed off proper pubs”.
“It should be [legal] to smoke in a boozer that doesn't serve food,” he wrote.
Dan Simpson simply said that it should be the “business owner’s decision”.