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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 November, 2004, 16:01 GMT
Smoke-free pub put to the test

Natalie Grice
BBC Wales news website

Gavin King at Aubrey Arms
Manager Gavin King with the pub's clear message
As politicians debate the merits of restricting smoking in public places, one pub has quietly been putting a total ban into place for months.

The Aubrey Arms on the A48 at Bonvilston near Cowbridge brought in the no-smoking rule after being refurbished in May.

Six months on, it still looks - and, more noticeably, smells - fresh and new - and no yellow stains in sight.

So how have customers reacted to the new regime?

Gavin King, general manager at the pub, welcomed the no-smoking atmosphere he now works in.

He told BBC News Online: "I can honestly say I don't think I've ever had a negative comment from a customer about it.

"People have said it's such a nice change."

"It's extending the customers' options, because customers want more and more choice.

"Offering the choice of coming to a non-smoking environment is an excellent bonus.

"We're lucky that customers can choose here or [sister pub] the Old Post just down the road where they can smoke."

'Terrible habit'

Mr King is a (mostly) former smoker himself, and admitted not being able to smoke in the bar had helped him keep away from cigarettes.

"If you are working where smoking is still allowed, you feel a bit dirtier by the end of it, with it in your hair and clothes," he said.

Frederick Ball
Frederick Ball only smoked a little while in the army
The pub's fresh air also helped keep curtains and carpets clean for much longer, he added.

Customer Frederick Ball, who had dropped in for a meal on his way to Cardiff from Kenfig Hill, would support a ban on smoking in pubs.

"It's a terrible habit," he said. "This is a nice place and [not having smoking] would make me come back."

Mr Ball, 76, smoked while serving in the army as a young man but quit as soon as he left the service.

"A lot of people want to give it up but they haven't got the willpower," he said. "Pubs like this will help."

Three women out celebrating a school reunion had not realised the pub was completely non-smoking but backed the idea.

Suzanne Lethbridge, from Boverton, commented: "I think it's a good idea. In some places, I have often had to go home early because I have had enough of the smoke.

"There's nothing worse than walking in a pub and being hit in the face by smoke."

Sandra Perkins, Suzanne Lethbridge and Helen Harvey
Three friends dining were all in favour of a smoke-free environment
Her friend Sandra Perkins from Llantwit Major - like Suzanne, a former smoker - said it was particularly off-putting for parents taking children out to eat.

"We've all got to breathe. If somebody's smoking next to you, you can't get away from it.

"I'm asthmatic, and it really does affect you," she said.

The former nurse believes health messages on their own are not enough to prevent people taking up the habit.

"I nursed patients dying of lung cancer. I knew exactly what it did and I still smoked," she explained.

"I look at young people, particularly young girls, taking up smoking and say, do you know what you're doing to yourselves?"

Helen Harvey, visiting from Weston-Super-Mare near Bristol, summed up the trio's feelings on a potential smoking ban: "It's one of the nanny state rules we approve of."

Smoking ban after pub make-over
03 Jun 04 |  South East Wales
Calling time on pub smoking?
09 Jun 04 |  Wales

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