Hospitality trade in pocket of tobacco industry.

Wednesday 29 May 2002

ASH news release: Embargo: 00:01 Wednesday 29th May


Hospitality Trade in the Pocket of Tobacco Industry says New Research
New evidence from the USA [1] has shown tobacco industry manipulation of the hospitality industry to maintain smoking in public places. ASH claims that the hospitality trade in Britain is blocking the workplace smoking Approved Code of Practice [2] and questions if similar tactics are being used in this country.


Commenting on the Californian study published today in the BMJ specialist journal Tobacco Control which detailed how the tobacco industry has been using hospitality trade associations to promote its own cause, Marsha Williams of the anti-tobacco campaigning group ASH, said:


“We have found that for the past three years very sensible and moderate measures to protect Britain’s workers from passive smoking have stalled in the face of hospitality trade objections.


“ They have pressurised for a voluntary approach to regulate smoking in pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants yet this has delivered very little in the way of change. It has all the hallmarks of tobacco industry manipulation.”


Latest figures from the Public Places Charter group [3] show only 9% of venues have changed their policy to cater for non-smokers by way of separate no smoking/smoking areas. In this country the Atmosphere Improves Results [4] – or AIR – organisation is backed by the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association. It is clearly not in the tobacco industry’s interests to see venues in this country subject to the sort of regulations that exist in California and some parts of Australia and Canada.


A summary of studies conducted from Melbourne, Australia [5] assessing the economic impact of smoke free policies have shown only positive results for pubs and restaurants. It is only studies conducted by the tobacco industry that have tried to frighten the trade into thinking smoke free is bad for business.


“ The hospitality trade bodies in this country are massive groups – they should not have to seek             additional funding from the tobacco industry. Surely they are big enough to stand on their own             two feet yet one has to question if they are merely doing their masters’ bidding when it comes to             finding ways to stop the ACoP being implemented,” added Ms Williams.


But irrespective of who holds the strings, the considerable health impact of passive smoking is now a given. In the same issue of Tobacco Control a second paper by the US team[6] clearly demonstrated that when compared to employees from a smoke-free environment, workers in the hospitality trade had much higher levels of cotinine – a metabolite of nicotine – in their saliva. In reality this means their workplace is exposing them to a much greater risk of heart disease and lung cancer.


“ In the light of this new evidence organisations within the hospitality trade should come clean             about the level of tobacco industry involvement in their sector – else face losing any shred of             credibility they may previously have enjoyed. I’m sure their members would like to know if their             bosses, when blocking the ACoP, are truly acting in their best interests or in fact doing what is             best for the tobacco giants,” concluded Ms Williams, adding as a final point that UK government             should question when it is talking to hospitality trade organisations if, by proxy, it is actually             entering into dialogue with the tobacco industry.




Notes and links:

[1] Tobacco industry manipulation of the hospitality industry to maintain smoking in public places.

[2] The Approved Code of Practice is designed to clarify existing Health and Safety Legislation as it relates to passive smoking. The draft ACoP was recommended by the Health and Safety Commission in September 2000. Despite that recommendation government has yet to implement the Code, largely thanks to lobbying by the trade who say it will be bad for business and impossible to apply to their distinct workplaces.

[3] The Public Places Charter is a voluntary code agreed between the Department of

Health and leading hospitality industry groups on smoking in public places such as hotels, restaurants, pubs and other leisure venues.

[4] AIR: Atmosphere Improves Results – a group set up to try to resolve the passive smoking problem by promoting the use of ventilation systems.

[5] A summary of studies assessing the economic impact of smoke free policies in the hospitality industry. Michelle Scollo and Anita Lal. Victoria Health Centre for Tobacco Control, Melbourne, Australia. To view summary of the studies see

[6] Exposure of hospitality workers to environmental tobacco smoke



Contact: Marsha Williams 020 7739 5902 (w)