Bar managers like smoke-free areas – nothing to fear from legislation, says ASH

Thursday 21 November 2002

ASH news release: For immediate release 21st November 2002


Bar managers like smoke-free areas – nothing to fear from legislation to protect workers from passive smoking, says ASH
British pubs and restaurants have nothing to fear from proposals that would restrict smoking on their premises, according to a new study published in the latest issue of the BMJ specialist journal Tobacco Control [1].


The study has shown that smoke free areas are overwhelmingly popular with both proprietors and customers, with no evidence of takings being hit once smoke-free areas are introduced. In fact, 95% of proprietors surveyed would recommend no-smoking policies to similar businesses.


Joanna Carrington, of the anti-smoking campaigning group ASH, said:


“To say that smoke-free areas drive away custom is a myth perpetuated by a tobacco industry which is running scared of smoking restrictions. They fear smoking polices will reduce cigarette consumption and hence their profits. We think the study offers important lessons to Ministers in the UK, some of whom are apparently blocking measures to tackle passive smoking at work because of misplaced concerns about the impact smoking restrictions would have on the hospitality trade.”


The report presents questionnaire results on smoking policies in almost 400 hospitality venues in Yorkshire and Sunderland. A large majority of establishments (82%) reported no problems with their smoke-free policy. Trade was seen to increase or not change in 90% of bars, pubs and restaurants and the majority of respondents were very happy with the business impact. The study is the latest in a long line of reports that show smoking polices are good for business [2].


Author, Richard Edwards, is a public health lecturer from Manchester University, said it was an “economic folly” for businesses to continue to ignore the rights and preferences of non-smokers who are 70% of the adult population.


“Given the economic benefits demonstrated in this study and the need to protect the health of their customers (including children) and staff from the grave health effects of passive smoking; it is really time more businesses in the hospitality trade offered non-smoking customers the choice not to be exposed to this major health hazard.”


His views where echoed by the co-author David Reed of Yorkshire ASH.


We know that passive smoking is damaging to health. What this survey demonstrates is that owners and publicans have nothing to fear and a lot to gain from giving their customers choice.



Notes and links:

[1] Edwards, R and Reed, D. (2002). Are smoke-free policies good for business? Tobacco Control 2002. 11, pp 385.

[2] Summary of studies assessing the impact of smoking restrictions on the hospitality industry.

Contact: Joanna Carrington 020 7739 5902 (w) 077 6879 1237 (m) ISDN available