ASH slams Pubs Smoking Charter

Thursday 29 May 2003

ASH news release:  For immediate release  –  Thursday 29 May 2003


ASH calls on the Government to withdraw its endorsement of the Public Places Charter following failure of Charter to meet smoking targets


Pubs and restaurants have failed to meet targets set by the government to increase smoking restrictions, a report released today has revealed. [1]   Despite the unbelievably easy terms of the Charter, the hospitality trade has failed to make substantial progress towards the goal of increasing smoke-free provision.  Almost half of venues still allow smoking throughout.


The terms of the Public Places Charter were that at least half the pubs in England Wales would have a  smoking policy in place by 1 January 2003. Of these policies, 35% should restrict smoking to designated areas and/or have ventilation to an agreed standard.  This allows for the majority of venues to effectively do nothing to alleviate the smoking problem as they can simply opt for the ‘smoking throughout’ policy.  Not surprisingly, most pubs have chosen this easy way of complying with the Charter.


In the light of the pathetic results,  ASH believes it is now time for the Government to officially disassociate itself from this Charter and to bring forward legislation to make smoke-free environments a legal requirement.


Deborah Arnott,  Director of ASH commented:


“For pub leaders to claim that the voluntary approach has been a success is a joke.  Merely putting up signs declaring that smoking is allowed does nothing to protect the health of patrons or staff.  It’s quite clear that relying on voluntary codes of practice to increase smoke-free provision does not work.  This is an embarrassment for the government and it should distance itself from this pathetic Charter as quickly as possible.


 “If the Government is serious about reducing health inequalities, and preventing cancer and coronary heart disease it should ban smoking in all workplaces.”  



Countering fears that pubs and restaurants would lose money if smoke-free legislation is introduced Arnott added:


“The evidence is clear that smoke-free environments are not only good for health but also for the pocket.  It’s a ‘win-win’ situation:. Non-smokers far out number smokers and the leisure sector can expect an increase in trade following the introduction of smoke-free policies.”   [2]


ASH will continue to urge the Government to introduce legislation to eliminate tobacco smoke from the workplace and ensure the protection of all workers’ present and future health.




Notes and links:

[1] The Public Places Charter on smoking.  Industry progress report.   28 May 2003

[2]  Scollo, M et al. Review of the quality of studies on the economic effects of smoke free policies on  the hospitality industry.  Tobacco Control 2003; 12:13-20.


Contact: Deborah Arnott  tel 020 7739 5902 or 079 7693 5987 (m)

or Amanda Sandford 020 7739 5902 (w) ISDN available