New ASH guide shows non-smoking provision in pubs & restaurants is good for business

Tuesday 14 September 1999
Press releaseTuesday 14th September 1999
Embargo: 06:00

Action on Smoking and Health

ASH will today make a compelling case to the hospitality industry to do better for the seven out of ten non-smoking majority and get in tune withpublic opinion.

A new guide “Bad for Business?” details case studies of successful smoking policies in 10 pubs and restaurants ranging from inner city pub to haute cuisine restaurant.

ASH has a stand at the Pub and Bar show at Earls Court and will be taking the upbeat message directly to the people that matter — the publicans, brewers and restaurateurs.

The guide includes The Fat Cat pub in Sheffield, one of the first in the UK to implement a smoking policy back in 1981. This Real Ale Free House has a completely separate non-smoking room. Among the restaurants surveyed is Browns in Brighton which operates a flexible smoking policy determined by customer demand, and Café Pasta in Putney, London, which has a different smoking policy for each of the three floors of the restaurant.

ASH Director Clive Bates said:

“There’s a lot of middle ground between a total ban on smoking and no provision at all for non-smokers. Our guide will help by showing what has already been achieved in practice in successful pubs and restaurants.”

“We are not taking a health message to the pubs and restaurants or lecturing anybody. This is about the business of catering well for the customers that don’t smoke. We are showing that non-smoking provision in pubs and restaurants is practical good business.”

New scheme introduced by pubs and restaurants today.

The guide is launched on the day that the hospitality industry trade associations launch the first stage of the ‘Public Places Charter’ with the backing of the Health Minister Tessa Jowell. This voluntary approach is endorsed by ASH because it could deliver results faster than a bruising fight over legislation. The first stage of the Public Places Charter will label pubs and restaurants according to their non-smoking provision and ventilation standards.

Clive Bates said:

“The hospitality trade is getting its act together, but we need actual changes as well as just labelling. With the Public Places Charter the hospitality industry got a reprieve from legislation, but we need to see targets and progress in meeting them or new laws will have to go back on the agenda.

“The Charter is not a soft option for the trade or cop out for health. The ASH guide shows that with a bit of effort and support from the pub and restaurant trade a lot can be achieved and a lot should be expected.”

ASH called on the trade bodies and Government to agree to targets – as stated in the tobacco White Paper, Smoking Kills – by 10 December 1999, the first anniversary and deliver meaningful progress within one year.

(1) Freeth, S. Smoking related behaviour and attitudes, 1997. Office for National Statistics, 1998.

ONS survey: percent agreeing that smoking should be restricted… Current smoker Ex-smoker Never smoke All Adults
… in restaurants 69 88 93 85
…in pubs 24 57 64 51