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Last Updated: Monday, 17 December 2007, 11:33 GMT
Smoking ban 'costs pub takings'
Cigarette
The landlord of the Plough Inn says there has been a drop in custom
The landlord of a Kent pub is to send a petition to the government to try to get the smoking ban revised, claiming it has cost him 25% of his takings.

John Davis, who runs the Plough Inn, in New Romney, said he knew other pubs who had lost up to 35% in income.

He said he would have preferred to have one of the rooms in his pub changed instead of "throwing everyone outside".

The Department of Health said there was significant evidence the legislation had had a positive effect on pubs.

"There is considerable evidence from other countries that have introduced smokefree laws that the impact on business can be positive," a spokesperson said.

The public are going to see a lot of their local pubs disappear
John Davis

"We will continue to monitor the impact of the smokefree legislation, with a full review due to be completed within three years.

"We have seen no significant evidence to date that implies that smokefree legislation... will create any long-term economic problems for pubs or the hospitality trade in general."

But Mr Davis said: "Since the cold weather's arrived it [the business] has gone really dire.

"The public are going to see a lot of their local pubs disappear."

"A lot of landlords are waiting to get Christmas and the New Year over, where they can earn some money, and then contemplate packing it in."

'Concerning figure'

His views were echoed by the BII (formerly British Institute of Innkeeping) and the Federation of Licensed Victuallers' Associations (FLVA).

John McNamara, chief executive of the BII, said a national survey run by the organisations had shown sales had slumped by 7.3% since the smoking ban was introduced in July.

Out of 2,708 responses, 58% of licensees said they had seen smokers visiting less frequently, while 73% had seen their smokers spending less time at the pub.

"It's a very concerning figure, on the basis that if you're a mainly drink-led pub and you haven't got space for an outside area, or you can't provide food, you're going to have a real problem," Mr McNamara said.

Mr Davis added that he had spent the last month talking to people drinking in his pub, and found that more were now choosing to stay at home and smoke.

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