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Last Updated: Friday, 5 August 2005, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Cigarettes back at no-smoking bar
Cigarette being stubbed out
One national pub chain has committed to a smoking ban by May 2006
A bar in Swansea believed to have been the first in Wales to ban smoking has allowed smokers to return, saying it cannot compete with chain pubs.

Lounge Bar manager Dominic Hughes had admitted "sticking his neck out" in going non-smoking in October 2003 but he was certain it would succeed.

Less than two years on, he has decided to join his competitors in targeting younger drinkers, who tend to smoke.

"I think smoke-free bars are a bit ahead of their time," said Mr Hughes.

Hand in hand with targeting a younger crowd, I think you have to allow smoking
Lounge Bar manager Dominic Hughes

A former smoker, he recently sold the lease for the bar and he anticipated the new owner would continue allowing smokers to light up.

He said he was "glad" to have opened a smoke-free bar but he had expected legislation for a blanket smoking ban in public places to have progressed further than it has.

The Welsh Assembly Government has discussed plans to make all public places smoke-free within two to three years.

"I'm definitely disappointed that the government didn't move quicker on this subject because maybe then I wouldn't have to selling the lease," added Mr Hughes.

"The original concept of the area was as being the café quarter of the city was a fantastic idea but it hasn't actually materialised.

'Preventable killer'

"There's a proliferation of the larger pub (chains) which really target the younger audience. The more discerning customers don't necessarily come down here on the busy weekends.

"It was my decision to target the younger crowd and almost jump on the bandwagon.

"Hand in hand with targeting a younger crowd, I think you have to allow smoking."

Linda Durgan, of the All-Wales Smoking Cessation Service, said she hoped the bar would return to banning smoking, which she called the "biggest preventable killer in Wales".

"Only 26% of the population smokes, so over 70% of people are non-smokers. If you're asking people who already smoke, over half of those want to try to give up.

"Wetherspoons pubs have announced that by 6 May, 2006, all their pubs will be smoke-free and some have already started with that."


SEE ALSO:
Wales' first no smoking bar
10 Oct 03 |  South West Wales
Councils 'not tackling smoking'
05 Jul 05 |  Health


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