It’s often claimed by supporters of the smoking ban in pubs that it is supported by a majority of the population. Sometimes it’s claimed that it enjoys the support of a large majority, or even overwhelming support.
But, as Simon Clark points out, that just ain’t so. The latest edition of the annual British Social Attitudes survey says:
In Britain as a whole, the majority support a smoking ban, with just seven per cent saying that smoking should be freely allowed. However, the level of restriction, whether a complete ban or simply restricted to certain areas, divides the public.In fact, this survey – which, as it is carried out by the government and thus can’t be accused of having an anti-ban axe to grind – has never shown a majority of people to be in favour of a blanket smoking ban in pubs and bars, which suggests that they do not regard them as genuinely public areas but rather part of the licensee’s space where they are allowed in as guests.
While just under half (46 per cent) support a ban on smoking in pubs and bars altogether, a similar proportion (41 per cent) prefer limiting smoking to certain areas of pubs and bars.