ASH response to the LGA statement on banning smoking outside pubs and cafes PLUS polling data

18 July 2020

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) backs calls from local government and parliamentarians to prohibit smoking immediately outside pubs and cafes during the pandemic.

ASH, working with YouGov COVID-Tracker [1], has found strong public support for measures to restrict smoking outside in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

When asked if they supported or opposed “greater limits on where people can smoke outside during the COVID-19 crisis (e.g. supermarket queues, pub beer gardens when open)”. A majority (59%) said they would support greater limits (17% opposed). Although smokers were least likely to support limits only 34% actually opposed them (34% support and 28% neither support nor oppose).

The COVID-Tracker has also found more willingness among smokers to change their smoking habits to protect others during the COVID crisis. Among the 430 smokers surveyed 25% said that the crisis had increased the likelihood that they would avoid smoking outside in places where it inconvenienced others (7% said it had decreased the likelihood and 67% said the crisis has made no difference). [2]

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said:

“Local Government is right to support this amendment, which will be easy for pubs and cafés to comply with, simple to enforce and popular with the public, most of whom don’t smoke and don’t like being exposed to tobacco smoke when they’re eating and drinking. It will also help smokers who’ve quit during lockdown to stay quit once they’re out and about socialising again.”


Notes to editors

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

ASH staff are available for interview. For more information send an email to please contact Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, ASH on 07976 935 987


[1] The survey was conducted between 22nd June and 6th July 2020. It was an online survey using the YouGov panel with 2010 respondents. For more information on the YouGov Covid Tracker see:

[2] This question was asked of 430 smokers between 22nd June and 13th July 2020.