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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
'Ban has led to drop in takings'
Lyvinia Lyon
Lyvinia Lyon said many older customers had stopping coming in
The owner of a traditional Glasgow pub believes regular drinkers are drifting away because of Scotland's ban on smoking in public places.

Lyvinia Lyon, of the Saracen Bar in Possil, said it had lost many of its older customers.

Her comments came as the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) said a survey indicated sales of alcohol in pubs had fallen.

She told BBC Scotland: "There's a big difference in the trade.

"The old drinkers can't sit with a drink - their half and half - and a cigarette.

"There's a lot of old punters and it's the old punters who spend all the money. There's a lot of them who don't come in now."

Staff blamed

Ms Lyon rubbished claims that the ban would help encourage people to stop smoking and said bar staff had faced a backlash of public anger.

She said: "If people don't want to stop smoking they'll not stop smoking - it's as simple as that.

"If they want to come into a pub and sit and have a drink - then that's fine. But they'll not give up smoking if they don't want to give up.

Saracen Bar
There are fewer regulars in the Saracen Bar

"They see it as us who've done it - not the government.

"People are saying 'this is ridiculous, why are we having to stand outside and have a cigarette.'

"The staff get the blame for it as far as some are concerned."

The bar owner said since the ban was implemented in March, takings had dropped by about 800 a week.

She said: "We've lost a lot of our old customers - our old men. They just don't come in now because they can't be bothered being up and down for cigarettes."

Her comments support the findings of a SLTA survey of 365 members.

It found that sales of alcohol appeared to have fallen by more than 10% since the ban was introduced.

The organisation warned that worse was to come as less people would be happy to smoke outside in cold winter weather.


SEE ALSO
City stubs out smoke ban claims
23 Aug 06 |  North East/N Isles
Smoke ban 'has hit pub takings'
23 Aug 06 |  Scotland

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