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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 April, 2005, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Pubs' takings fear on smoke ban
Cigarette stub
The LVA claims a ban would hit the hospitality sector income
Pub and club landlords claim figures on the effect of the smoking ban in Ireland show a similar ban in Wales would hit their takings.

They say their research shows 'smoking bans can seriously damage the health of the pub and restaurant sector'.

Members of the Licensed Victualler's Association (LVA) in Wales held a meeting at the Wales Millennium Centre.

Anti-smoking lobby group, Ash, said its figures pointed to smoking bans being popular where they are introduced.

The LVA said the seminar on Tuesday would use figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), an independent business consultancy, to 'take a hard look' at the implications of a possible smoking ban in Wales.

The initial evidence from Ireland is clear: smoke-free pubs and restaurants have fewer customers and lower revenues
Mark Pragnell

The CEBR claims the ban cost Irish pubs 80m over the first seven months.

Its research found turnover in licensed premises in Ireland was 7.3% lower than it would have been without the ban for the first seven months after the ban was introduced.

Bars, nightclubs and public houses also saw a 10.7% drop in trade in the same period, while the number of jobs in Ireland's hospitality sector fell 5.9% over the first five months of the ban.

CEBR's managing director, Mark Pragnell, said: "Our research shows that smoking bans can seriously damage the health of the pub and restaurant sector.

'Seasonal fluctuations'

"The initial evidence from Ireland is clear: smoke-free pubs and restaurants have fewer customers and lower revenues.

"We believe that the National Assembly for Wales can learn from the Irish experience and will need to consider the financial and employment impact of banning smoking in pubs, as well as the public health effects."

Speakers at the seminar include the representatives from University of Glamorgan, which is researching smoke ventilation systems.

Naomi King, director of Ash Wales, said its own figures showed a 3.5% drop in trade in Ireland's hospitality sector after the ban was brought in was consistent with a longer term sales downturn.

She said: "We have figures showing that it's been a huge success and everybody is happy with it.

"There are enormous seasonal fluctuations in the hospitality industry at this time of year anyway."

BMA's call

"We think a ban on smoking is extremely important and (policymakers) should not be put off but look at the broader picture that shows there should a ban for health other reasons."

The assembly does not have the power to bring in a smoking ban but has set up a committee to look at the evidence.

A spokeswoman said: "The committee has received evidence from a number of organisations and will be taking all of that into account."

In December, BMA Cymru urged doctors to write to their MPs and ask them to support a ban on smoking in public places.


SEE ALSO:
Figures reveal smoke death toll
05 Mar 05 |  Scotland
New party to oppose smoking ban
01 Mar 05 |  Scotland


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