Saturday 30 November 2013

A whiff of anxiety

Fuller’s have recently become the latest recruit to the list of pub operators – most notably including Wetherspoon’s – to impose a blanket ban on the indoor use of e-cigarettes in their estate. The reasons given are twofold, that it can be difficult for staff to manage, and that it causes “anxiety” amongst customers. The first may have some validity, especially in a busy pub, but it’s nowhere near as difficult as they suggest, especially given that the ban on smoking real cigarettes is pretty much self-enforcing anyway. The second, on the other hand, just seems to be pandering to the kind of hysterical anti-smokers who, before the ban would say “Oh noes! There’s someone smoking on the other side of the room! I’m going to DIE!!!” and might go into a paroxysm if they saw someone who appeared to be smoking. Indeed, much of the opposition to e-cigs seems to stem simply from the fact that they somewhat resemble real cigarettes rather than from any kind of rational assessment of the risks.

Of course, pub operators are entirely within their rights to ban the use of e-cigs if they choose to do so, and I would strongly defend the principle of “my gaff, my rules”. But there is certainly no law against using them indoors, and they are becoming increasingly popular. There must be a growing number of pub customers who regard using an e-cig inside as much preferable to going out into the cold to smoke a real one. Given that they are often used as a means of helping people stop smoking, pubs banning them could also be seen as standing in the way of reducing smoking prevalence.

Rather than taking the easy way out and imposing a blanket ban, would it not make sense for pubs to make an effort to manage the issue, which is not in practice the impossible task that the likes of Fuller’s claim? They might even find they gain business by making a point of advertising themselves as “e-cig friendly”. And, if some customers still found it objectionable, there’s no reason why pubs can’t have an area where e-cigs are permitted, and an area where they’re not. That sounds like a very sensible idea – I wonder where I’ve heard it before...


  1. When the market decides, I guess we will wait to see if it gives you an answer you like.

  2. “Oh noes! There’s someone smoking on the other side of the room! I’m going to DIE!!!”

    I've never heard anything like that, pre- or post-ban. Perhaps we in Southport are a hardier lot than the inhabitants of our near namesake, Stockport!

    Seriously though, perhaps the manufacturers could help by not making them so like cigarettes: if they were any other colour than white, bar staff and other customers could tell at a glance what it was.

  3. Last summer I was at a steam fair (Temple Newsam to be precise), you know the sort of place, the air is thick with acrid sulphurous smoke from the coal burned by all the steam engines on acres of open land.

    I lit up a cig, and the reaction I got from stupid silly bitch with the coughing and arm waving was like I'd just released a tank of sarin gas.

  4. The Blocked Dwarf30 November 2013 at 15:39

    "I'd just released a tank of sarin gas."-Budvar

    Yesterday evening there was the Lights On Xmas Market in our street....for all those Norfolkers who still find it wonderous that the magic of our science allows us to trap sunlight in a glass bottle....despite the fact that Goebel invented the light bulb in 1854 if memory serves.

    The street was closed to traffic and was jammed packed with the great unwashed of Sistershaggershire. I had to walk through them to get back to our flat. It was like Moses parting the Red Sea. Cigarette in hand infront of my face and all the moms grabbed their children and yanked them to the side in a vain attempt to escape my toxic fumes. I swear a couple of them actually covered their kiddy's eyes lest they see THE BAD MAN SMOKING. Buggies were turned on a penny to avoid me, Dad's covered their chips with their hands and everyone shot me the sort of looks Abu Hook Hand might get if he walked down the high street waving an Ak47.

    The fumes from the 2 bar-be-que stalls filling the narrow medieval street of course didn't bother anyone.

  5. WHATS WRONG WITH THESE F*****G people.
    A great way to turn around their takings is to welcome vapers.....shout it from the Rafters.
    Or loose the custom and just become another closed down pub.

  6. Who is really behind the Anti E-Cig paranoia.
    Easy,obvious,clear as a bell
    The Drug Giants, who see the E-Cig
    growth as a threat to their highly profitable,overpriced Nicotine Replacement Treatment (NRT) racket.
    Sooner or later someone is going to spill the beans on the bribery,financial rewards,palm greasing,backhanders,stuffed Jiffy bags and various other unseen "personal incentives"currently on offer to the "concerned" chattering experts.
    Lets not forget the real maggots on this issue
    the pathetic dipsticks (smoker and Vaper)who still patronise the depressing joints which treat them like vermin.
    ???Government Concern???
    1.3 million EX SMOKER VAPERS
    = Tax Loss Per Annum £1.4 BILLION

    The Rainbow Bridge

  7. “Oh noes! There’s someone smoking on the other side of the room! I’m going to DIE!!!”

    I thought that was the basic rationale for the blanket smoking ban...

  8. >1.3 million EX SMOKER VAPERS
    >= Tax Loss Per Annum £1.4 BILLION

    But 1.3 million e-Smokers can be taxed as easily as as cigarette smaokers

  9. Having just returned from a short trip to Prague where, shock-horror, smoking is still allowed in many pubs and restaurants, and then my wife finding she was not even allowed to smoke OUTSIDE the terminal building when we arrived back at Gatwick (except in a "designated smoking area), made us both wonder what a namby-pamby nation we have become. Hysteria of the sort mentioned above by The Blocked Dwarf, rather than any rationale based on common sense, seems to have gripped the British people.

    I am certain the pub companies mentioned in this post are just taking the easy way out, as are Sainsbury's whom I notice have also imposed a blanket ban on the use of e-cigarettes in their stores.

    I'm not going to say any more apart from reporting that, unlike here, pubs in the Czech capital are thriving. Efficient air-extraction systems, plus a much more liberal "live and let live" philosophy, means that pubs in the Czech Republic can still be enjoyed by smokers and non-smokers alike!

  10. "pubs in the Czech Republic can still be enjoyed by smokers and non-smokers alike!"

    Well.. smokers and smokers alike perhaps. For a non-smoker, sitting in a smokey pub is a pretty unpleasant experience. Even many smokers find sitting in the build up of fug to be an extremely obnoxious experience.

  11. The greater anxiety in pubs must be caused by the presence of drinkers. Who do these people think they are? I take my nieces in to get some chicken nuggets and use the free colouring books and there are people drinking alcohol? In front of children no less! Surely alcohol ought be banned at least before 8pm? To protect the children from ban influences!

    Please, won't somebody think of the children!

  12. "For a non-smoker, sitting in a smokey pub is a pretty unpleasant experience."

    Funny how so many of them were so keen to do it prior to 01/07/07 then, even when there were non-smoking rooms and indeed entire non-smoking pubs available.

  13. You're right mudgie, its amazing what people used to put up with, outside loos, smoky pubs, sending their kids up the chimney. Thank goodness things have improved. We're still being asked to put up with pubs with a crap beer range that no-one likes, but slowly that is changing too.

  14. Well at least nicotine from e-cigs in not a known carcinogen , unlike alcohol which is a massive carcinogen and is offensive to the senses. The sooner booze is banned in pubs the easier it will be for non-drinkers to avoid what is often an extremely obnoxious experience and it will make pubs more pleasant for all.

  15. Funny how in the past there were half as many pubs again and overall they sold three times as much beer. But, as you say, py0, times change and it's all progress.

  16. I agree about Prague, and have also been to Pilsen - pubs are thriving with a much better vibe than in the UK, and smoking is generally allowed, though some places have separate rooms and some have gone nonsmoking. The ventilation systems are improving hugely too. With a decent system, smoke is barely noticeable, a fact which smoke-haters just refuse to accept; they want so much to believe it's either 'stinking fug' everywhere or 'nice clean air' everywhere. Some places might be too smoky, but I'd rather have that than smoking banned in every one of them. The likes of pyo are very keen to tell us how horrible they think smoking is - but they never explain why things have to be so 'all or nothing'. Does it spoil your night out, to think that there are people smoking somewhere - in another room, another bar, somewhere you don't have to go? For that matter, is it really too much to ask, to occasionally tolerate a little bit of smoke in a well-ventilated place? And you call smokers selfish . . . ?!

  17. "is it really too much to ask, to occasionally tolerate a little bit of smoke in a well-ventilated place?"

    Is it really too much to ask for me not to sneeze in your face or generally act like an inconsiderate twat?

    yes, I'm afraid it is too much to ask, and every survey mudgey links to says the same thing. Yours in the extremist minority view, not mine. Keep your offensive emissions to yourself, or risk prosecution/a punch on the nose.

  18. You really are a remarkably intolerant individual, pyo, aren't you? Just because you don't like something it doesn't mean you have any right to stop anyone doing it anywhere, even if it's somewhere you would never go.

    And no survey I have linked to has shown a majority in favour of the blanket smoking ban. When are you going to stop telling lies about this?

  19. Go on, post your link again and I'll explain for the fiftieth time how it shows that the majority of people reject the idea of going to to the days before the ban.

    I'm not intolerant at all, I'm more than happy for people to smoke wherever and whenever they like as long as they don't inconvenience anyone else though their selfish lack of consideration for others.

  20. "they don't inconvenience anyone else though their selfish lack of consideration for others."

    Yup, I don't know why smokers just don't get their own pubs and restaurants yo go to and leave us tolerant people in peace.

  21. Perhaps because most smokers are also friends with normal people and prefer to socialise with them in a mainstream pub rather than allow their dirty habit to overtake and control the rest of their life?

  22. So smokers are not normal people, then?


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