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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 May, 2003, 06:58 GMT 07:58 UK
Smoking ban 'increases pub profits'
Smoker
Time could be running out for cafe smokers

Pubs, clubs and restaurants could increase their takings by banning smoking, says the TUC.

It claims the alternative is a rise in the number of compensation claims from workers suffering the effects of passive smoking.

A bill to ban smoking in cafés and restaurants will have its second Commons reading in July.

Last month New York became the latest city in the United States to introduce a ban in bars and nightclubs, and the Irish Republic is set to follow their lead.

'Misleading'

A TUC spokesman, Tom Mellish, told BBC Radio 5 Live that studies from eight countries showed places which became smoke-free zones attracted extra customers.

He said: "They all came back with positive results.

"Bars, restaurants and clubs increased their profits and increased their attendances because they're going out to a different market.

Neither the consumer nor the hospitality industry wants a complete ban on smoking and there is absolutely no need for it
Simon Clark
Forest

"The other thing is that people who don't like smoky atmospheres are actually staying longer," he said.

The TUC is pushing for the ban, because it believes passive smoking presents a health risk to waiters, waitresses and bar staff.

Brendan Barber, general secretary elect of the TUC, said the tobacco lobby was using "dubious" surveys which wrongly implied smoking bans would force people out of business.

"People who work in pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants need protecting, and the voluntary charter backed by the tobacco industry will do nothing to save the lives of thousands of workers at risk every day from passive smoking."

Rory O'Neill, editor of the TUC-backed Hazards magazine which published Saturday's report, said: "Big Tobacco (the lobby) has spent big money to prevent UK workplaces going smoke-free.

Ashtray
Publicans fear a ban will drive customers away

"The hospitality industry has a clear choice - accept the law now, or accept the inevitable slew of costly compensation cases from workers suffering obstructive airways, disease and cancer caused by the bar room fug."

But Simon Clark, director of smokers' rights group Forest, said: "Neither the consumer nor the hospitality industry wants a complete ban on smoking and there is absolutely no need for it.

"If the overwhelming majority of people wanted smoke-free pubs and restaurants it would happen, believe me, because people vote with their feet.

"Publicans and restaurateurs must be free to choose a policy on smoking that best suits their business."

Labour MP Gareth Thomas won a vote to introduce a bill to secure a ban on smoking in cafes and restaurants.

The Smoking (Restaurants) Bill will prevent people from lighting up in any premises that sells food.




SEE ALSO:
Smoking ban passes first test
14 Apr 03  |  Politics
Last smoke in New York
30 Mar 03  |  Americas
Smoking extinguished in Irish pubs
30 Jan 03  |  Northern Ireland
No-smoking in California
01 Jan 98  |  Americas


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