Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Smokers charged 50p to light up

Time nighclub, Bangor
Nightclubbers must hand over 50p for a wristband if they go for a smoke

Students who have to go outside a university nightclub when they want to smoke, are being told to pay 50p if they want to get back into the venue.

The Time nightclub in Bangor insists that anyone leaving to light up must pay the charge for a wristband that lets them return inside.

Smokers rights body Forest says the club is cashing in on the smoking ban.

But the president of the students' union, which is part of the complex, said he had had no complaints.

The director of Forest, Simon Clark, said it was one of the first cases of its kind that he has heard of, and said smokers were being singled out.

Gemma Howells, Bangor student
Why should they have to pay for the privilege of having to go outside?
Gemma Howells, languages student

"We know that the issue of people gathering outside to smoke can pose problems for nightclubs, especially if the smokers are being joined by their non-smoking friends.

"We've heard of venues putting on bands where the club is almost empty because everyone is outside.

"But charging people to get back in seems like a fairly new development to me.

"Yet again, it seems that the smoker is receiving the thin end of the wedge when it comes to the smoking ban."

A ban on smoking in enclosed public places was introduced in Wales in April 2007.

The Time nightclub, a popular venue in Bangor catering mostly for the student population, is no exception with customers having to go outside the venue to smoke.

The students' union insisted that as the nightclub operates as an independent business, the issue of charging smokers was a matter for club's management board.

David Farnsworth, Bangor student
Making them pay to go outside gives them another reason to think about giving up
David Farnsworth, psychology student

No-one was available for comment from the nightclub, but students' union president John Jackson said: "Nobody has been to speak to me about it, and I was unaware of it being an issue.

"Of course if there are complaints about this, then it is something that I can raise with the members who represent the union on the management board of the nightclub."

The charging policy has received a mixed reception from students in the university who use the nightclub.

French and Spanish undergraduate Gemma Howells said it was a step too far: "I think it is disgraceful actually.

Niyi Adebowale, Bangor student
I think it is actually good, it makes people stop smoking in there
Niyi Adebowale, business student

"I don't smoke myself, but at the end of the day they are being forced to outside, why should they have to pay for the privilege of having to go outside and do something that is going to kill them anyway?

"I think people accept they are going to be penalised because they smoke, and I don't think that is very fair."

But psychology student David Farnsworth said he agreed with the charge: "The less people who actually smoke the better, because it helps the health service etc.

"I've worked in bars for years, and when there were smokers, it used to really do my head in - it was horrendous.

"Making them pay to go outside gives them another reason to think about giving up."

Business and marketing student Niyi Adebowale said it had his backing: "I think it is actually good, it makes people stop smoking in there - they've got to come out.

"It is good thing for non-smokers. I think it is a very good idea."

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