At last there’s a recognition of reality in December’s What’s Brewing with a front-page headlining article recognising the strong links between the campaigns against tobacco and alcohol. This really does leave those sadly deluded CAMRA members who thought the smoking ban might usher in a new dawn for pubs looking very silly.
Even if you abhor smoking, if you enjoy going to pubs and drinking alcohol you are sadly deluding yourself if you think this has nothing to do with you. In the US, anti-drink groups are now running seminars on the implications of tobacco legislation for alcohol policy, something that inevitably is going to spread to this side of the Atlantic. Over here, respected medical professionals have expressed the view that further curbs on alcohol sales and promotion are a logical follow-on to the smoking ban. The anti-smoking lobby are basically the same people, with the same motivation and the same funding, as the anti-alcohol lobby. If you claim to support pubs and yet are in favour of the smoking ban, you are taking a very naïve and short-sighted view.
It seems that CAMRA has now belatedly woken up to this. But will there be a concerted, high-profile campaign against the New Puritanism? I wouldn’t hold your breath – it’s more likely that the membership will return to their favourite pastime of arguing over how many angels can stand on the head of a pin.