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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 June 2006, 23:11 GMT 00:11 UK
Pub trade 'not hit' by smoke ban
Temporary shelter outside pub
Many pubs have provided temporary shelters for smokers
A quarter of Scots are likely to visit pubs more often now public places are smoke-free, according to a survey.

The Cancer Research UK poll also found that 10% of the 1,000 over-18s surveyed were less likely to visit a pub since the ban came in three months ago.

The charity said the net result indicated the smoking ban would not lead to losses for the pub trade.

Paul Waterson, of The Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said it was far too early to tell whether business was up.

In telephone interviews carried out during one week in April, respondents were asked if they would be likely to visit pubs and bars more often, less often or about the same under the new smoke-free legislation.

Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control, said the results mirrored the positive experience of other countries that had already banned smoking in public places.

"This survey should reassure publicans still worried that the smoking ban will drive customers away," she said.

More often 24%
About the same 45%
Less often 10%
Don't visit 20%
Unsure 1%

"Making pubs and bars smoke-free gives workers the protection they deserve and creates a more appealing place to go to for your social drink with friends."

Mr Waterson, chief executive of the SLTA, which campaigned strongly against the ban, condemned the cancer charity for commenting on the licensed trade.

"How organisations like Cancer Research, from the pro-lobby group in the run up to the ban, can suddenly become experts on the licensed trade - they should stick to their own area," he said.

"The licensed trade is making its own progress in helping to implement the ban. Point-scoring is not the way to go.

"They should be trying to help people to stop smoking rather than passing comment on the licensed trade."

Good weather

He said the SLTA's own research on the ban's effect on business would begin on Monday, and over the next six weeks it would be consulting its members and other relevant parties.

However, he warned that variables such as good weather and the World Cup could skew the figures, and more time was needed to assess the real impact.

He added: "We said before the ban came in that there would be winners and losers in business, but that there would be more losers. And so far that would seem to be the case."

Meanwhile, new figures from local authorities indicated a 99% compliance with the ban.

More and more people are realising that passive smoking is not just a nuisance - it is a killer
Health Minister Andy Kerr

The data was based on premise inspections during the first month following the introduction of the ban on 26 March.

Health Minister Andy Kerr said the figures proved that the majority of Scots had embraced the smoke-free legislation.

He also announced the latest results of the MRUK omnibus survey on attitudes to the ban.

The figures showed 61% of about 1,000 respondents supported the ban, 73% thought the ban had been successful, and more than a third of smokers surveyed said the ban had helped them to reduce the amount they smoke.

Mr Kerr said: "These figures show that more and more people are realising that passive smoking is not just a nuisance - it is a killer.

"And that is why the smoking ban is so important for the people of Scotland and the future health of our nation."

See how the smoking ban has impacted on pubs

Call to raise smoking legal age
26 Jun 06 |  Scotland
Cross border smoking loss concern
01 Jun 06 |  South of Scotland
Smokers quitting in light of ban
25 May 06 |  South of Scotland

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