Pubs reflect on 10 years of no smoking

The smoking ban isn't the only reason for the decline in the industry, said Morecambe's Pubwatch chairman.
The smoking ban isn't the only reason for the decline in the industry, said Morecambe's Pubwatch chairman.
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Pubs in the Morecambe area have accepted the smoking ban in enclosed public spaces with no loss of business, says the chairman of Morecambe Pubwatch.

Speaking 10 years after the introduction of the smoking ban, Nigel Pearson said: “No-one has really made any comment to me about it. The licensees have taken it all on board and the food houses have all benefited. Everyone has adapted and made outside spaces for smokers. “

Chief Executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie.

Chief Executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie.

New figures obtained by the smokers’ group Forest show North West England has lost 1,788 pubs since the introduction of the smoking ban.

But Nigel said: “I certainly wouldn’t blame it all on smoking, it’s also the rents and not adapting premises for smokers. It doesn’t help but it’s not the only cause. I don’t recall one pub round here that has closed due to smoking, it’s more the lack of trade generally.”

Angela Aspin, regional director at CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), said the smoking ban cannot be blamed for all closures since, though she said it had ‘a role to play in all this’.

She said: “Weak planning laws have made pubs an easy target for developers, with a loophole in the English planning system only being closed as recently as last month.

“A huge tax burden and changing business rates have also put a number of pubs under pressure, leading to soaring costs for consumers and ultimately less footfall.

“While the smoking ban has had a role to play in all of this, it’s difficult to determine the impact on its own.”

The 10-year anniversary of the smokefree legislation introduced on July 1, 2007, which banned smoking inside bars, clubs, restaurants and other public and work places, has been marked with a dramatic steep decline in smoking rates across the North West. The last few years have seen the steepest drop in numbers, down from 21.1% in 2012 to 16.8% in 2016.

Duncan Selbie, chief cxecutive of Public Health England, said:“The smokefree legislation has been extraordinary in the way we now experience and enjoy pubs, clubs, restaurants and so many other public places.

“Young people have not had to experience the smoke filled bars and clubs that once choked their parents and workers. They’ve grown up in a world where smoking is no longer socially acceptable.

“The law has played a key part in the huge cultural change we have seen in the past decade, especially among younger people, a change that has literally saved thousands from disabling chronic diseases and premature death.”

The local and national data is available at :

Health charity ASH issues new report

Support for smokefree places in the North West is stronger than ever.

10 years after the smoking ban was introduced 85% of people in the North West in 2017 support smokefree legislation.

This is up from 76% in April 2007, three months before the smokefree laws came into place across England. ‘Smokefree: the first ten years’ is a new report from public health charity ASH that tracks changes in attitudes to the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces and other measures aimed at protecting people, particularly children and young people, from health harms due to tobacco.

The report analyses 10 years of data from the ASH Smokefree England survey, carried out by polling company YouGov. Nationally, in April 2007, 78% of all respondents to the survey were in favour of smokefree legislation.