Sunday, 21 August 2011

Not in front of the children

The Sunday Telegraph reports that two mothers were refused white wine spritzers in a City of London pub because the barperson thought it inappropriate for them to be drinking alcohol in front of their children. Now obviously this is just a one-off aberration, and if it was generally adopted it would kill the “family dining” market stone dead.

But it is symptomatic of the growing stigmatisation of alcohol that such an opinion was expressed at all. It’s a more extreme version of the refusal to serve a pregnant woman even a single drink. The view is becoming increasingly common than any quantity of alcohol is incompatible with any responsible activity (see my recent poll about lunchtime drinking at work) and we are heading towards a situation where drinking becomes an activity that has to be ringfenced from the rest of society.


  1. Incompatible with any responsible activity?? what about beer and sex?? :)

  2. The way pub regulars,Smokers and
    Non smokers alike have rolled over,
    surrendered ,crawled behind dustbins ,this last few years,
    its not surprising society treats them as dregs.So many so called "men"and "women" pushing past the old ,the disabled,the poor huddled in pub doorways and backyards leaning on bars cracking on,"there's no problem",nodding donkeys,capdoffers and self righteous chatterboxes.

    Wet led whinger

  3. Next step - when a child enters a pub, nobody can be served alcohol. Does that seem like such a big step?

    Anon - smokers didn't 'roll over'. We were expelled from pubs because the landlords faced hefty fines if they let us stay. So the landlords made us unwelcome, and now we don't go. Society? Who needs it?
    We have developed alternatives.

    Drinkers now face the same thing. Do you think the women in that article will go back to that pub? I doubt it. Not because they 'roll over' but because they have been demeaned and insulted in a place where they expect to relax (and pay for it).

    Drinkers will soon do their socialising away from the pubs too. The image of the sad smoker/drinker sitting alone at home might well have been true at the start of this denormalisation game, but not any more.

    These gatherings cannot be open to the public or they come under the smoking ban. When it's over, when we have a politician with a brain in charge and the Dreadful Arnott has been tied to Don Shenker and a large block of concrete and dropped into the Atlantic,
    there are a lot of original-style 'public houses' ready to replace those dead pubs.

    In the meantime, I'm afraid, the socialising is by invitation only.

  4. I understand a landlord not serving a parent who was obviously rather worse for wear, but this is just taking the piss. It sounds like an over zealous barman to me, following orders beyond the fashion that he was instructed to , and it's nice to see the pub company admitting that this was a problem.
    I do like the fuzzy way that the Telegraph reports about children being allowed into pubs as if it is a universal and automatic thing. The pub that I'm about to take over has no childrens license and so children will not be allowed unless I apply for a change in the licence.

  5. As I said, I'm sure it was just a misguided rogue barman, but in general people who are being "over-zealous" are just pushing commonplace attitudes a bit too far, like a parking attendent who is a bit "over-zealous" in his enforcement of the rules. It's not something totally out of the blue; it assumes there is an acceptable degree of zeal.

    It is my understanding that under the new licensing regime there is no such thing as a "children's licence". There is a general presumption that children may be admitted to bars subject to the licensee's discretion. Your pub, of course, may have specific licence conditions that say otherwise, but most don't.

  6. As a smoker, I no longer visit pubs. If I did, I would find one which didn't allow children. I don't want children banned from pubs. It's up to the landlord. If smoking pubs or smoking rooms were allowed, there would be no children in them.

  7. I was guilty of being fuzzy now. I have just read the newly transferred licence of my pub, and it says, Annex 2 Embedded condition ..blah .blah... no childrens certificate in place.
    And then goes on to say that because of this, nobody under 14 allowed in the bar, unless, blah de blah de blah.
    So it's a condition of the premises licence, not a separate licence itself.

    I still don't understand smokers who state that they no longer visit pubs. It's completely cutting your own nose of to spite your face. You are the only one who is missing out, the rest of us are having lots of fun without you. For fucks sake, are there no pubs in your vicinity with heated, seated, covered courtyards ? I can think of ten within two miles of my house. If there aren't then somebody is missing a trick.
    In fact I have no fucking sympathy with people who no longer visit pubs no at all. You will start blaming everybody else possible when there are no pubs left in the country, when actually you are part of the problem for not being willing to put up with the slightest bit of discomfort in the pursuit of your addiction. Frankly the quantity of people who visit pubs may well have gone down but the quality of customer has risen because we no longer have to put up with many of the cantankerous old sods, as they stay at home now, making their ceilings the same colour as their lungs. Result.

  8. Saga, your little tirade is a fine illustration of why many smokers no longer feel welcome in pubs.

  9. Ah yes, "smokers are to blame for pub closures because they're no longer allowed to smoke in pubs". This always strikes me as a particularly warped form of victim-blaming. Would you really go to pubs just as much if you had to go outside to have a drink of beer?

    You know, Mr Nails, you really do have this ability to be spectacularly and utterly wrong on every single issue you address. Maybe I should get some racing tips from you and back another horse.

  10. Mr Nails, I am anon 10.28. I am not asking for your sympathy. Here are some reasons I no longer visit pubs.

    Had all smokers who opposed the ban boycotted pubs, the ban would have quickly been ammended. Unless the ban is amended, I don't care if every pub in England shuts.

    There are no pubs with heated, covered courtyards near me.

    In order to avoid bankruptcy, pubs now try and make money by serving food to families with children. I don't find the presence of other people's children relaxing.

    I don't feel as if I'm missing out. I would rather smoke in my house and drink wine than sit somewhere I can't smoke. Two of my favourite activities are smoking and thinking. I think better when I have a cigarette in my hand. Why should I subject myself to discomfort in my leisure time?

    I gather you are opening a pub. Best of luck. Tip: cut out the swearing. Today's customers are a new breed. £3 for a pint sounds even worse with a background noise of swearing.

  11. The anti-smokers seem to forget that; while smokers may be only a fraction of their trade, they can be a large part of their profit.

    For instance,suppose a pub has a fixed overhead of $200/day and a trade of $300/day.

    A 10%($30) loss in trade is a 30% loss in the owner's profit.

    Gary K.

  12. Saga. 'are there no pubs in your vicinity with heated, seated, covered courtyards ?'
    Correct. None for many miles.
    I do hope your ceilings do not end up the same colour as your quality customers livers.

  13. @Saga


    You do lack a knowledge of your trade, with respect. This report from the British Institute of Innkeeping states that the majority of customers pre ban were smokers. And you basically we can "f*ck off."

    Pre and post ban the pub trade has not supported us so I can sip my very agreeable Chablis from Tescos at £7.99 with a very clean conscience.

    "The proportion of smoking customers dropped from 54% to 38%;

    66% reported that their smoking customers were staying for shorter periods;

    75% reported that smokers were visiting less frequently;

    47% of businesses had laid off staff, although 5% had recruited additional staff;

    Income from drinks fell by 9.8%;
    Income from gaming machines fell by 13.5%.

    The paper from the BII is here:

  14. Mr.Atherton,

    Do you happen to have any information about just what the margin of profit was for most pubs pre-ban as compared to post ban?

    Gary K.

  15. "The proportion of smoking customers dropped from 54% to 38%"
    Which means, given that smoking prevelence is somewhere between 20% - 25%, smokers are still over represented.

  16. Just to make it clear, I'm not anti-smokers or smoking in any way whatsoever. People are misunderstanding my comments. I currently smoke myself.

    A lot of pubs are losing trade and some are closing down and some of this is because of the smoking ban. I don't understand this trend personally, because every pub that I have gone into in the last five years, we have managed to increase the average weekly take by between thirty percent and fifty percent. None of these pubs serve food in the evenings and I do not allow children in my pubs in general. (just for the record, I don't allow loud swearing in my pubs either. But this is not one of my pubs, it is the internet.)Any no, none of these places had any kind of smoking shelter either, apart from those rubbish little trade parasols that you see.

    What I do get annoyed about is people who were going to stop drinking in pubs anyhow, using the smoking ban as an excuse and blaming it for the pubs closing. Or other people who seem to hold the landlord responsible personally for the fact that they cannot smoke indoors in the pub any more.

    Fredrik, I am going to apply for planning permission and possibly build an elevated and sheltered, heated smoking area which might well cost in excess of thirty grand. I don't have to do this, and the money spent will be out of my own pocket. How can I be accusing of not trying to make smokers welcome.

    Anonymous 10.28. I think that pretty much all smokers who opposed the ban DID boycott pubs, which is why the numbers of people visiting pubs has dropped by a large amount. A significant amount of smokers support the ban.

    Dave Atherton, can you please elaborate on why exactly I lack knowledge of my trade ? I never said that smokers can fuck off. I said that people who have decided to boycott pubs since the smoking ban came into effect can fuck off. I didn't bring the ban into place, the UK government did. So the Gvmt brought the ban into place, but rather than try to do anything to the Gvmt, some people have decided to boycott and punish the pubs themselves, who had no choice about the ban, largely opposed the ban, and are the ones who are suffering the most from the ban. That makes perfect sense, doesn't it ? Boycotting pubs is no form of legitimate protest whatsoever, and people who state that they are doing so to protest the ban have either not thought it through properly or are kidding themselves. Anyhow, as a publican, I have no time at all for people who have decided to boycott pubs whether they are smokers or not. Why would I'm no diplomat, as I imagine you all have guessed.

    I'm a successful landlord. Why would I try to devote my time buttering up people who have already stated that they are never going to bother coming top my pub, without having ANY idea of what it might be like ? I'm going to spend my time making my pub really good, so that the people who do want to visit have an excellent time when they do, and come back again some day.
    Smokers are most welcome. Miserable old buggers can please themselves and stay at home watching the quality evening television that is provided for our viewing.

  17. But smokers are NOT boycotting pubs, they are simply not using them as they are no longer permitted to provide the environment they seek.

    A boycott implies some sort of organised campaign, and indeed some sort of personal sacrifice. Smokers are simply not going to pubs any more (or going a lot less) because pubs can no longer give them what they want. They don't secretly hanker after going in smokefree pubs.

  18. "I currently smoke myself."

    Jews for Hitler.

    Seen it all now.

  19. Saga man is obviously either totally deluded or on a wind up.

    Why should smokers go to a pub where they are not allowed to smoke ?

    Most smokers now have very comfortable venues where they can smoke indoors and have their drinks at supermarket prices. The 'Smoky-Drinky' is so much better than the old fashioned pubs.

    Select company, no kids and comfort all the time saving a fortune on pompous landlords inflated prices.

    The smoking ban in pubs has certainly improved my social life and put money in my pocket at the same time.

    Once pubs are sterlised completely and not able to sell alcohol the smokers will be joined by the drinkers in these new establishments and the landlords can go and fuck themselves.

  20. @Gary K

    The first year of the smoking ban overall turnover went down 15%. I have some more research which I will dig up.

  21. I have said nothing about smokers in general here, rather about one specific kind of smoker. I'll make it clearer, and say exactly what I think about one specific kind of smoker, the ones who will not go to a pub now because of the smoking ban.
    I think that the kind of people who would choose to forego drinking in a pleasant communal setting with friends and strangers alike, and would rather be sitting at home, alone apart from the missus, drinking in front of the television, just because they will not put up with having to pop outside for a fag once every hour are a little bit sad.
    Is smoking so important to you that you are prepared to miss out on something that you enjoy greatly just because you cannot smoke while you are doing it ? So you cannot take a long train journey or a plane flight ?

    However, I completely welcome and have much respect for smokers and non smokers who are prepared to get of their arses and support local and community pubs.

    I have no idea where you all live, but where I am the pub scene is still very vibrant and lots of people still go to the pub three or four times a week. Yes, going to the pub is expensive, but you have a laugh and meet people. Remember that thing that you used? Meeting people that you never knew before ? It doesn't happen to you unless you leave your house occasionally.

    The people moaning here are probably the same people who used to moan about the prices that pubs used to charge, and claimed that they were ripping off the customer. Then the pubs started closing at a silly rate, and they couldn't use this argument any more. So the Government brings in a law which most of the industry opposed, and all of a sudden there is a new thing to try to blame on those terrible landlords..

    Comparing me to Hitler and smokers to the Jews is slightly over the top don't you think ? Really ? So could you please remind me where I said that I'm preparing to set up death camps for all tobacco addicts again, because I have read through my comments again and cannot find it. Oh, yes, that's because I never said anything of the kind, and you are just being a drama queen. Evoking Godwin's Law is always a bad thing. As soon as you do it, you have lost any credibility whatsoever.

    Curmudeon, I'm sorry this spat appeared on your blog.

  22. Mr Nails,

    I really have tried going to pubs since the ban. But, for many smokers, myself included, it just isn’t the same any more for all number of not-very-pleasant reasons. Now, you can bat on until the cows come home as to how pubs haven’t really changed at all, and how much “fun” they still are, and how “welcome” everyone still is, but I’m afraid that every time I walk into any pub these days, whether it’ll be yours or someone else’s, hard reality will very quickly bring home the fact that those views are just that – your views, not a statement of fact. And clearly your experience of pubs is very different from mine now, just as I expect your experience of anything will be different from mine, because we’re two different people.

    I’m not saying for a minute that pubs aren’t still fun and enjoyable for some people, but they simply aren’t any more for me and, I know, neither are they for many smokers. I’m really not sure, as a business owner, what you can do about that, but between you, me and the gatepost, simply trying to tell people that they are being unreasonable by not sharing your views of today’s pub experience doesn’t seem to be a particularly promising strategy. I’m really not certain that the customer-relations approach of “You vill enjoy zee pub experience, vezzer you like eet or not!” is going to do the trick, to be honest ...

  23. I assume Saga that you live in a busy city area hence your vast choice of pubs that seemingly cater for everyone.
    I don't. I'm afraid the 'drinking in a pleasant communal setting with friends and strangers alike' simply does not exist any more in the empty café style crèches that have taken over my area.

  24. "Is smoking so important to you that you are prepared to miss out on something that you enjoy greatly just because you cannot smoke while you are doing it ? So you cannot take a long train journey or a plane flight?"

    You completely miss the point there. A long train journey or a plane flight is a means to an end, not an end in itself, and therefore a smoker may be prepared to endure a period of deprivation. However, going to the pub is the end purpose - a place (supposedly) of relaxation and convivial socialising. For most smokers, being able to smoke while you're doing that is an integral part of the experience. If you can't smoke, it's just not the same.

    I asked you before, but didn't get a response: would you go to pubs just as much if you had to stand outside to have a glass of beer?

  25. Saga, (Luke I take it?) as has already been demonstrated, smokers are still overrepresented among pub goers despite the smoking ban (almost 1/2 pub users compared with 1/5 of the population). This means that if any thing non-smokers continue to not pull their weight and that is despite smoking being banned. I don't care if you are spending a ton of money on an outside smoking area, I would not use it because of your attitude against smokers. I don't care if you occasionally smoke and blog about how stupid you think it is, as soon as you start describing potential customers as addicts to support your arguments you loose me. I take it you will not be forcing your drinkers to drink al fresco and you are not going to call them addicts if they complain about it and stop using your pub - before it's even been opened? In fact, I think that could be a really good USP for your pub opening day, "We are a booze free pub but we have a dedicated outside drinking area for our addicts." That way you could alienate 100% of your customers instead of a mere 38%.

  26. Fredrick, smoking is stupid. And guess what, 90% of regular smokers are addicts. Anybody who smokes say a packet a day and has done so for an amount of years is very likely to be an addict. And if they fulfill these conditions and maintain that the are not an addict, it is quite possible that they are an addict in denial of the fact, possibly because they cannot admit to themselves that they are not as in control of their impulses and actions as they thought they were. Smoking is stupid. Not smokers, but smoking. It makes you say things that are not true, such as 'I'm not addicted', or 'I can give up any time that I want.' But the real reason why smoking is stupid is because you inhale a concoction of poisonous gases that cause serious long and short term damage, over a hundred times a day.

    You only ever find out for sure if you are addicted to something when you attempt to give it up.

    Mudge, maybe we live in parts of the country that have drastically different weather or something, but I don't usually have a problem with doing outside to do things. Of course nobody likes to be rained on, but even that isn't the end of the world. I do go to pubs and stand outside all night long, or for most of it. Even when I don't smoke I don't usually have a big issue with going outside, as long as I'm not going to get rained on.
    As I say, most of the pubs around here that can, have some kind of lit, covered yard that you can sit or stand in shelter and many of them have heaters as well, although in principle I am against outside heaters.

    Anonymous's I amn genuinely sorry that your seem to have no managers in your areas with a bit of insight and a bit of cash to make your local pubs fun and welcoming. I too hate the slow transition from local community pub to food based establishment to the point where drinkers are ushered into a corner. I can't stand these places and will never go anywhere near them. What area's do you two live in ? It really seems like pub companies and managers are missing a trick here, because having a decent smoking area where your rivals do not have one is a big advantage.

  27. Many people would argue that drinking alcohol is stupid and most regular drinkers are addicts who are in a state of denial about their addiction.

  28. Luke, Why not resign your self to never having sex or drinking a drop of alcohol for the rest of your life. When you don't make it more than a few months, I will quite happily describe you as a stupid addict. I am sure that 90% of the population would find it very difficult to stop drinking for the rest of their lives- that does not make them addicted or stupid , it makes them human. This is why it takes decades to denormalise smoking and why it will take decades to denormalise drinking because people don't miss what they have never enjoyed. But either way, it won't make me want to drink in your pub, even if your smoking shelter is gold plated and encrusted with jewels, I don't like your attitude and would not spend money in your pub.

  29. Fredrik, you seem to be just acting like a cockjockey now. I explicitly said that I did not consider smokers to be stupid, but the act of smoking to be stupid, and yet you persist in misquoting me. It is apparent that you are doing so deliberately. I don't really want people who willfully misrepresent others' opinions in my pub anyhow. Say what you like about the smoking ban, but the pubs that I go in seem a little bit happier than before.

    And why would I want to stop drinking for the rest of my life ? I enjoy it, and my drinking does no harm to others whatsoever. I have no problem with people smoking for the rest of their lives too, if that is what they want to do, that's fine by me. I'm not trying to tell anybody how to live their lives, I'm just describing one certain addiction as a stupid one. And for specific reasons, of which this is the main; Your lungs are a pretty essential part of your body, abiet one that most of us take for granted unless we perform some very heavy exercise. Smoking totally buggers up the ability of your lungs to perform very well in the short term, and every cigarette is doing a little bit or irreversible damage to those utterly essential organs that we have. When your lungs are knackered, your life is pretty much over. You can't even leave the house to go to the shops. Hell, you can't even get past the front door, in some situations. You need your lungs to live, and while some damage will be reparable, most of it is not. Even if you are a light smoker this shill applies.

    I would not disagree that many people who drink more than once a week are addicted, and of course many of those will be in denial about it. But that is not what I am discussing here. Feel free to open the argument up to the more general topic of addictions and their nature, if you like. That's perfectly fine by me. The nature of tobacco consumption and alcohol consumption are fundamentally different. Not that many smokers only have one or two fags a day, and not that many smokers will go a week or so between smoking, whereas a lot of people who drink only do so occasionally. The percentage of smokers who are addicts is likely to be much much higher than the percentage of drinkers who are addicts. And every cigarette is bad for your health whereas studies have shown that a single glass of say red wine a day can actually be beneficial to your health.

    The effects of the two drugs are so different and the nature of their specific addictions are so vastly different that it is disingenuous to compare them in this fashion. Alcohol addiction is a much more long term issue than tobacco.

    Fred, You talk about denormalising smoking. What on earth has ever been normal about smoking anyhow ? It's a South American plant that has only been known to Europeans for less than five hundred years. Alcohol has been a staple of civilisation pretty much since written history began. Smoking is no longer socially acceptable in our western society, but I very much doubt that this shall ever come to pass in Europe. The drinking culture is too closely linked with social habits and interaction that I do not think the actions of some of the more militant health lobby will bear fruits.

    Maybe the reason why things like the smoking ban came into effect is because some smokers were too damn selfish to realise and accept that their habit was affecting others to the point where people were not frequenting venues because of others' habits. I worked in a pub with a specific non smoking area. Did that stop some smokers lighting up in that area ? No, of course not. A small minority frankly didn't give a shit about other peoples feelings and would chain smoke in places where it was explicitly forbidden. Pre-ban, lots of pubs did not permit smoking at the bar, in order to protect staff, but did this work ? Smokers would still constantly come to the bar with a lit fag in their hand.

  30. Mr Nails, you know that's not the reason the smoking ban came in. It came in because ASH UK wants to eventually eliminate all smoking and the ban is the first step.

    Also, in my experience, pub landlords bar people who refuse to do as they are asked. I've never come across one who is prepared to debate the merit of his rules on smoking or anything else.

    You are sounding less and less like a smoker.

  31. Why am i sounding less like a smoker ? because I am fully aware of it's short and long term impact on my healthy ? That does actually make sense, you know, as not that many smokers like to discus the specifics of what their habit is actually doing to them.

    I think that many factors pushed the smoking ban into place, it cannot just be attributed to one specific group. But if smokers had policed themselves better the ban may have been in a different form. Who knows ? I'm only speculating here.

  32. I have had signs up specifically telling people not to put fag ends in the plant pots, or the floor but to use the ashtray, but if i barred everybody who ignored that rule it would be a quite quiet pub indeed. Barring people is rarely the answer to anything. Barring people for minor things is one sure way to a pub that loses money. I've seen it happen in quite a few pubs.

  33. "their habit was affecting others to the point where people were not frequenting venues because of others' habits."

    Of course most pubs have been mobbed by non-smokers since the ban, haven't they?

    And my experience as a customer was that, pre-ban, where non-smoking areas did exist in pubs they were pretty well observed. More evidence that you seem to inhabit some bizarre parallel universe.

  34. Compared to most other groups, cyclists are a good current example, smokers generally obeyed the rules. Of course there were anti social exceptions, but there was no need to smoke where it wasn't permitted. Go in a smoking carriage, the top deck of a bus, the back of an aircraft. No problem. The problem was that non smokers on average don't drink enough to keep there own pubs going. That's why there were so few no smoking pubs before the ban, although they were starting to appear. Ideally, so many no smoking pubs would have opened, that a ban would have seemed bizarre. Don't blame smokers for that not happening.

  35. Curmudgeon, no I don't think that non smokers have gone running (back) to the pubs in drives at all, far from it. But non smokers still make up at least 50% of the pub going population, and I suspect that percentage is going to slowly increase in the future.

    I'm not trying to blame smokers for the ban, I'm just saying that sometimes certain smokers didn't help their own cause. You can maybe understand my frustration when I had ashtrays on every table and plenty of signs politely asking people to use the ashtrays and still I had to spend three hours every week sweeping the yard and picking the butts out of the flowers and plants that I had bought to make the area appear more pleasant.

    We live in different areas of the country and I'm not surprised that attitudes are different where we respectively are.

    As I mentioned, my main gripe is with certain smokers punishing pubs when the pubs were mostly on their side, and in fact spend a lot of money to ensure that smokers still feel welcome despite the over zealous legislation.

    As I said, I am planning to spend 30 - 40 K of my own money on a decent smoking shelter, but attitudes like Mr Fredrik's make me question if this is a worthwhile thing to do.

  36. "my main gripe is with certain smokers punishing pubs when the pubs were mostly on their side"

    This argument is utter nonsense. How many times does it have to be said to you, smokers are NOT punishing or boycotting pubs.

    It's no more reasonable than saying real ale drinkers are boycotting keg pubs.

    You seem to have some kind of persecution complex there.

  37. Some smokers are to all intents and purposes boycotting pubs these day. I don't have any kind of persecution complex at all because I run successful pubs not struggling ones, (so far) and I have not found myself lacking for customers. But people who are making the decision to not go to pubs any more are essentially punishing the pubs, whether they mean to or not.

    Pubs are in trouble and the only way that they will stage a recovery is if people start supporting them more. If people decide to stay at home then it is only going to make the problem worse.

  38. Luke, I went to pubs ~300 days a year before the smoking ban and now I am a fair weather pub goer and make it ~20 days a year. I am not boycotting pubs , I go very much less to pubs because

    1, Many pubs I would go to before are now little more than smokefree restaurants that just happen to have beer pumps. I don't like smokefree restaurants but if i am going to go to one it might as well be a decent one.

    2, I hate standing out in the street smoking and I hate not being able to smoke inside even more.

    3, Even if I did force myself to ignore point 2, there are simply less people to meet when I get to the pub because of points 1 and 2.

    All of this has nothing to do with addiction, this has everything to do reasonable expectations when one is handing over hard money for service.

    And I think it is easy to show this because if you abolished all public smokefree places, force everywhere to allow smoking against the wishes of customers and businesses
    and it turned out that non-smokers would go out less for similar reasons to above. How could one make the argument that they would be boycotting businesses? It would much harder to make the argument that they are doing it because they are addicted - addicted to what? Addicted to smokefree restaurants? I find it highly plausible that many non smokers could abandon pubs all together if they lost their pre 2007.5 quota of non-smoking areas and smokefree areas by law , overnight, because they would rightly argue that they wanted to use those places. That does not make them addicts, the cause would be the law not them as customers.

  39. Hi Saga,

    I agree that punishing pubs is not reasonable, however since the ban pubs really are a bit of a chore for smokers, you did not change your offering voluntarily, but the offering changed, and as a smoker pubs are now rubbish for me for six months of the year, and pretty unwelcoming the other six months.

    I wish you well, I really do, but you cant count on my custom.


  40. It's simply the change of use.

    I enjoy a cigarette with my cup of coffee, so I don't go to cafes any more either.

    The idea of having a coffee inside then going outside to smoke in the street is just ridiculous.

    Try to understand, I am hardly likely to stand outside 50% exposed to the elements for the purposes of denormalisation, just to keep the pubs open.


    "However, internationally, the term is also used to encompass efforts challenging notions that smoking ought to be regarded as routine or normal, particularly in public settings.

    Hammond et al state that “social denormalisation” strategies seek “to change the broad social norms around using tobacco—to push tobacco use out of the charmed circle of normal, desirable practice to being an abnormal practice”.

    Last time they went for alcohol first and tobacco later, this time they've just done it the other way around.

    Guidelines For Alcohol Consumption Are Inadequate For Cancer Prevention

    "There is increasing evidence that links alcohol consumption to cancer. The WHO International Agency of Research on Cancer has stated, based on evidence, that alcohol is carcinogenic in both animals and humans."

    "Based on the evidence, "there is no level of alcohol consumption for which cancer risk is null."

    Instead of sulking about absent smokers and expensive smoking sheds, it looks like you have bigger problems heading your way.


  41. We don't go to Pubs because we don't enjoy it, any more. Simple as. If the pubs feel they are being 'punished' then maybe they should have been more vociferous on behalf of their smoking customers pre ban. I/we do not have any duty to put up with a rubbish atmosphere just to keep them alive.

    Become active in obtaining amendments or repeals and we'll be back there. Do nothing then take a hike.

  42. The landlord of my local pub has just celebrated 40 years behind the bar, and was interviewed on the day of his anniversary by the local paper, quote:

    "... said that the best thing that ever happened to the pub was the smoking ban in 2007, while the worst was the Monopolies Commission, which he believes might have prevented the big pubcos gaining too much of an influence in the trade."

    I have been a regular at his place for over 10 years and it has never been busier. I am staggered by the amount of vitriol still flowing on this subject 4 years on, some people are obviously still passionate about pubs though they claim not to use them anymore. It's time to move on.

    Curmedgeon, I started following and enjoying your blog about 6 months ago but it has become a bit one-track recently, could you try and start some threads with a degree of positivity about pubs at all? Like the rise in cask ale sales for instance. Or the opportunities being created all over the UK by the PubCos disposing of their estates? I can think of several micro breweries who are buying their first pub and turning them around.

  43. Mr Nails, I started this off by using the word "boycott". This was probably the wrong word. It implies that I would enjoy visiting pubs but choose not to in order to make a point - like Liverpudlians boycotting the Sun newspaper. In fact, as Curm explained, I no longer visit pubs because I would rather smoke without leaving my seat and going outside. Publicans need now to concentrate on selling food to families.

  44. Nails wrote: "Some smokers are to all intents and purposes boycotting pubs these day."

    Oh no they're not!

    To continue insisting that they are, when I, Fredrik Eich and others have explained at great length why this is not the case, is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going "la la la la!"

    Any more of this nonsense will be classed as trolling and deleted.

  45. "could you try and start some threads with a degree of positivity about pubs at all?"

    Could you please try not to dictate what I should write on my blog, thank you very much?

    Maybe you didn't notice that it says in the blurb on the left, "The smoking ban is what prompted the creation of this blog back then and, while it touches on many other topics, it remains essentially its core theme."

    Are you going to go on Frank Davis's blog and suggest he stops "banging on about the smoking ban"?

    Perhaps I'll stop blogging entirely and just leave this as an open comment thread (and the original post wasn't about, and didn't mention, the smoking ban).

  46. Curmudgeon, I'll stop using the word boycott, if it makes you happy. :)

    Last night I went to a local pub that I don't frequent enough. They have a fine, covered and seated smoking area but because of complaints from one neighbour they have to close this strictly at ten o clock, every evening. So later I went out for a fag out the front and had a nice five minute chat with the landlady who I hadn't spoken to before and after she went in had an interesting ten minute chat with a bloke who likes the rain and thinks that Bristol has funny weather. Anyhow, I wouldn't have met these two had it not been for the smoking ban.

    I know a lot of smokers who have absolutely no problem with the ban at all, so to say that pubs are not welcoming for smokers these days is a sweeping generalisation and not true for a certain percentage of customers.

    Fredrik and Anonymous, My pub shall not be serving [evening] food nor shall it admit children. I know of at least ten or fifteen Real Ale pubs in Bristol that also do this, and most of them are doing a good trade. I understand that it will not be the same outside of cities and in other parts of the country, but not all pubs are turning into family restaurants.

    I understand that many people do not like smoking on the street which is why I seriously don't understand why more pubs are not using their back yards or gardens to put up decent shelters. Most pubs have some kind of area that they can use. Around here, the pubs with the best shelters are often the most busiest, especially in the wintertime.

  47. Oh, and Fredrik, sorry for calling you a nobjockey. Insults on the internet are rarely deserved.

  48. Hello Curmudgeon, I am anonymous post 17.30. Thanks for responding, I appreciate that this site is a forum about the 2007 ban but I still think it's time to move on. I was talking to another pub landlord on Monday (my other local) who is experiencing record turnover and it's all cask ale. He's been the landlord for 26 years and runs the archetypal wet-led pub , specialising in cask beer from a local micro and has seen sales double in 4 years.

  49. Its not just the smokers abandoning ship. A merry band of friends/colleagues who used to regularly go to the pub have all bailed out.
    Less than 50% were smokers but 100% thought the pubs had done a poor job of retaining customers.
    The non smokers are as pissed off as the smokers in seeing pubs turning into shitty cafés.

  50. "... said that the best thing that ever happened to the pub was the smoking ban in 2007"

    Good for him. There's no reason why, staying non smoking, he shouldn't be just as successful with an amendment, probably more so, as non smokers migrate from the smoking pubs.

    But it's more likely to be the other way round, the very reason a lot of the trade is so against any amendment.

  51. "it's time to move on"

    Well, the "health lobby" are certainly moving on - from tobacco to alcohol. Even if you believe that the smoking ban will never be relaxed and that complaining about it is crying over spilt milk, it offers a clear blueprint for what is already happening to alcohol. Unfortunately, CAMRA and many industry representatives naively fail to recognise the threat.

    I have said in the past that it is entirely possibly to run a successful pub even in a market that is declining overall. The Magnet in Stockport is a good example of the kind of thing you are talking about.

    You will find plenty of beer bloggers who will bleat on in a blinkered, Pollyannaish way about how wonderful Pub X is and what a good job it is doing promoting quality beer. But that has to be seen in the context of an overall on-trade beer market that has declined by 6% in the past year and 25% in the past four years.

    Part of my role in life is to be the skeleton at the feast and point out such unpalatable home truths. To get to the Magnet, you have to pass the closed and boarded George, a pub that must be three or four times the size.

  52. I'm a smoker and I haven't cut down the number of times I go to the pub since the ban came in. Why?
    1. I drink real ale. Yes, I know you can get bottle-conditioned beer to take home but it's not the same.
    2. I like pubs. Drinking in a pub is better and more soiable than drinking at home.
    I find the ban irritating and I would like to see it withdrawn or at least amended. However, I do find some of the comments from those who have stopping using pubs since the ban quite extraordinary. Yes, you used to be able to smoke in the pub but was that the point of going there?
    Most of the people I know in my local smoke. I don't know anyone who has stopped going to the pub just because of the ban. Honestly.

  53. It has been remarked before that the smoking ban has been less likely to deter real ale enthusiasts from visiting pubs, because that is something they can only get in pubs. Thus they have an ulterior purpose in going to the pub beyond just normal socialising.

  54. "Fredrik, sorry for calling you a nobjockey. "
    Luke don't worry about it, no offense was taken! I have been threatend with knives, I have had my scaphoid broken for me, had my ribs broken for me, I have been on the recieving end of many head butt attempts , I have had my head kicked in so many times that my pupils do not dilate in stereo in reaction to light, I had a car try to run me down on the pavement, I once had my jaw dislocated for me by three gentlemen that mistaked me for some other gentleman that they had a disagreemnt with, I have had much worse than all this done to me that I can not talk about for very sensible reasons, the common denominator in all this must be my sparkling personality! I took no offense in you describing me as you did, I understood it with in the context that you wrote it, I am more interested in understanding your position than mere expressions of frustrations of having to deal with me!
    Best wishes

  55. Just a little point of interest. I've seen comments on other blogs by people claiming to be not just 'in the trade' but successful owners of pubs etc. one claiming to have 200 staff. They all have the following in common:
    A) They claim they are smokers
    B) They think the ban is a good idea.
    C) They can't see any problem with 'nipping outside'.
    D) They are against any amendment to the ban.

    Not only does the above question any form of business common sense BUT, considering they are supposed to run a business or two, they do seem to have an inordinate amount of time to spend on these blogs. Must be a good business to be in as I, certainly, didn't have the time when I was in business.

    Maybe it's me but, just wondering, like.

  56. Yes, you do have to wonder how some people who claim to be involved in the licensed trade seem to find so much time to post comments on blogs...


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