However, it seems as though salvation might be at hand, as a group of scientists in New Zealand are urging that smoking should also be restricted in outdoor areas of pubs to reduce its perceived social acceptability. This was based on an extensive and representative sample of a massive 13 people.
After the smoking ban, it supporters often argued that pubs were still able to accommodate smokers, and stepping outside if you wanted a fag was hardly any hardship at all, especially if there was a nice covered smoking shelter with patio burners. But, by preventing pubs from catering for smokers at all, such a move would inevitably kill the “community pub” stone dead. In spite of the ban, it is still the case that a higher proportion of smokers visit pubs than non-smokers – presumably because many non-smokers are sour-faced carrot-juice sippers who would never be seen dead in a pub anyway.
Of course, it’s never going to happen, is it? But it’s not that long ago that people were saying that about the blanket indoor smoking ban. And, at the very least, it’s opening up an Overton window to extend the scope of the debate.