Ipswich ready to quit: smoke ban nears

WITH the public ban on smoking coming into place in less than 100 days marked the 100-day count down.

WITH the public ban on smoking coming into place in less than 100 days marked the 100-day count down.

Ipswich Borough Council is preparing to police the ban with environmental officers and is working with businesses to get ready for the shake-up.

Gala Bingo, in Ranelagh Road, is attempting to phase in the changes by bringing in non-smoking days once a week.

It will be holding a non-smoking afternoon on Tuesday, April 3, and will then have a non-smoking day each week.

Christine Bailey, assistant manager at the venue, said the management would assess how the non-smoking day goes and will look to phase in more as the ban approaches.

She said: “We have already cut down the smoking area in the hall in January and will bring in our first non-smoking day next month.

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“We will see how that goes and after a couple of weeks will most probably extend it to two days a week.

“It is just to get people used to what it will be like when the ban comes in.

“We actually did a customer survey on the issue and the feedback was good.

“A lot of people think it will be nice to go home and not smell of smoke.”

Nigel Callaway, general manager, said: “A lot of customers are for the smoking ban but some are against it.

“Many are positive that it will help them give up smoking.”

At least two venues in Ipswich have already gone non-smoking prior to the ban coming into place.

The Ship Launch Inn, in Cliff Road, and Zing Wine Bar, in Tacket Street, are both non-smoking throughout.

N Will the smoking ban put you off going out? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

SUPPORT for the ban stands at 74pc, according to a Department of Health survey.

It also found that 65pc of people said it would make no difference to how often they go to the pub, while 15pc said they would go more often.

Some 75pc of the 1,726 people interviewed by ICM Research felt that going smoke-free would be good for health, but this conflicts with the experiences of Scottish pub landlords, who are now approaching the first anniversary of the smoking ban in Scotland.

The ban, introduced on March 26 last year, led to 34pc having to shed staff with only 3pc taking on extra employees, according to the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA).

Drink sales remain at 11pc below pre-ban levels with food sales down 3pc and many bosses are blaming this on the falling number of people going to the pub.

Some 56pc of licensees complained of fewer visits by regulars, while 30pc have seen fewer visits from new customers.

SLTA chief executive Paul Waterson said: “We were never properly and fairly consulted on the ban and our warnings were ignored. Now we have to live with the consequences of losing loyal workers and pubs being under threat.”

Anyone breaking the ban from July 1 in England could face a fine of up to £200.

Smokers face a £50 fixed penalty, dropping to £30 if paid in 15 days or possibly rising to £200 if taken to court.

Businesses and public places have been told to start getting ready for the ban by public health minister Caroline Flint.

She said: “All businesses should start preparing for compliance. They should be removing all smoking rooms and start putting up no smoking signs.”

No Smoking signs are being sent to 1.7million businesses next month.

HELP is today available for employers wanting to help their staff quit smoking

The Suffolk Stop Smoking Service is offering stop smoking courses in workplaces throughout the county.

From 1 July, all enclosed public places and workplaces in England will become smoke free as a result of new legislation.

Hilary Andrews, co-ordinator of the service, said workplace stop smoking clinics were often the most convenient option for employees.

She said: “Many people tell us they struggle to find the time to seek help with giving up smoking but if this support is laid on at their workplace, it makes it much easier.

“Some employees work with a stop smoking adviser during break times but some employers are happy for them to do so during company time.

“The only charge that employees have to pay is a prescription charge for nicotine replacement therapy if that is what's needed to help them stop.”

The Suffolk Stop Smoking Service wants to hear from employers who have at least five members of staff who want to quit.

A stop smoking adviser will visit the workplace once a week for six to seven weeks to run one-hour group session. Occasionally, an adviser will work on a one-to-one basis.

Businesses and individuals wanting more information about free help available from the Suffolk Stop Smoking Service can call 0800 085 6037.

Did you know?

N> Gala in Ipswich has around 5,500 customers a week.