Tobacco industry calls time on a complete smoking ban

The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) is today calling on government to provide for exemptions to the smoking ban on the third anniversary of the public places smoking ban in England.

Christopher Ogden, chief executive of the TMA, said: We are not opposed to restrictions on smoking in public places but a new survey shows 64% of smokers no longer go to the pub or go less than before. Three in five smokers in the UK would welcome a relaxation of the ban to offer designated smoking rooms. The results also suggest very little support for extending the smoking ban to other areas, 62% would go less often to the pub if smoking was banned in all of the pubs’ outdoor areas.”

The TMA believes there is an economic case for potential exemptions in order to achieve a more equitable approach to the issue of public place smoking.

Ogden added: We are recovering from recession and it is time to lift the legislative weight off struggling local businesses and their communities. The smoking ban has, contrary to claims from health organisations, severely threatened the £6bn pub and bingo industry by negatively affecting thousands of people working in the hospitality sector who have lost sales, jobs and their livelihoods. Here is the evidence of how the smoking ban has impacted on Britain’s pubs and clubs:

  • In the last year, almost 2,000 more English pubs have closed making a total loss of 4,148 since the ban in 2007 and over 10,000 jobs have been lost per year
  • The rate of closures has almost trebled since the ban (1.1% 2004-7 versus 2.8% 2007-10)
  • 7.6% of pubs in England and 20% of bingo halls have closed in total since the ban
  • Almost 40 pubs are closing every week

“The TMA supports an amendment to the legislation that would give landlords the choice to allow separate smoking rooms in pubs and clubs and we would encourage the Government to improve the legislation by introducing this proportionate amendment. Adult smokers should have available to them places where they may smoke without inconveniencing others and any review should be balanced, proportionate and take into account the likelihood of continued negative impact on business.”