Realistically, if they believed in freedom of choice, anyone who wanted to promote non-smoking areas should have been trying to convince licensees to provide them, and demonstrate that there was a genuine demand, rather than campaigning dog-in-the-manger style for a blanket ban.
Both before and after the ban, various compromise solutions were proposed that would have restricted smoking to some degree but not outlawed it in all indoor areas. These included:
- Banning smoking in pubs serving food, but allowing it in those that didn’t
- Allowing smoking to continue in private clubs, but not in pubs
- Allowing separate smoking and non-smoking pubs (much the same as 1)
- Allowing smoking in separate rooms in pubs without either a bar or table service
- Allowing smoking in pubs and bars that have no staff apart from the proprietor
- Allowing the current “smoking shelters” to be expanded to fully-enclosed, heated “smoking huts”
But, of course, the real reason why the antismokers are not prepared to concede any ground whatsoever is that it would rapidly and clearly demonstrate the lack of demand for entirely non-smoking venues, at least as far as wet trade was concerned.
Imagine, for example, the pub that has been allowed to erect a fully-enclosed, heated smoking hut. Inside the hut, it’s rammed and there’s a lively flow of banter. In the main part of the pub, there’s a handful of diners, a white-bearded bore holding his glass up to the light saying “The London Pride’s drinking well tonight” and a constant troop of merry hut denizens to and from the bar.