Majority welcome new non-smoking ban

PASSIVE smoking is bad for your health and in July the law will change banning smoke in enclosed public places.But what do Suffolk entertainment venues think about the impending ban?

PASSIVE smoking is bad for your health and in July the law will change banning smoke in enclosed public places.

Today, in the final instalment of our series, JAMES MARSTON talks to Suffolk entertainment venues as they prepare for the ban.

IT'S just months away and the country's 3.7 million businesses, including nearly 200,000 pubs, bars, restaurants and other leisure outlets, are busy preparing.

The ban on smoking in enclosed public places, will herald the end of the traditional 'pint and a fag' at the pub. Restaurants, workplaces, private clubs, and bingo clubs in the county will also be affected.


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Announcing the legislation last month, health secretary Patricia Hewitt said: “This is a triumph for public health and a huge step forward for health protection. Thousands of people's lives will be saved and the health of thousands more protected.

“Smoke free legislation will protect everyone from the harm of second-hand smoke when working, socialising and relaxing and will provide a more supportive environment for smokers who wish to give up.”

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But how are Suffolk's clubs, bars and restaurants in the county reacting to and preparing for the ban?

The Evening Star spoke to representatives of wide-ranging businesses and organisations. The majority were welcomed the ban, although around a third had either mixed views or were opposed to it.

At Gainsborough Labour and Social Club in Landseer Road, Ipswich, there is concern that the ban will affect trade. Club president Malcolm Thompson said plans are already in place to build an outside shelter to accommodate smokers.

He said: “We are a private members club with about 2,000 members. Many enjoy and pint and a fag and I'd definitely rather the ban wasn't coming into force.

“But we are all going to be in the same position. We will have to enforce the ban or we will be fined.”

Other parts of the leisure industry have welcomed the ban with trepidation. Not least the bingo industry.

A spokesman for the Bedfordshire-based Bingo Association which includes among its members large clubs like Gala and Mecca which have branches in Ipswich, said “The bingo industry enters 2007 with very real and genuine concerns for the future of the industry.

“Hanging over the industry like the sword of Damocles, which has already fallen in Scotland, is the smoking ban, due to be implemented in England and Wales in July and April this year, respectively.

“The impact of the ban in Scotland has been severe and far reaching, with a number of clubs already having closed.

“The impact in England and Wales will be amplified. Individual operator feedback on business performance in Scotland post the smoking ban has indicated severe downturns in admissions and turnover for both large and small clubs.”

Charlie Manning, owner of Manning's Amusement Park in Sea Road, Felixstowe, said he will wait and see whether trade will be affected by the smoking ban.

He said: “I have mixed feelings about the ban. From the health point of view I think it's a good idea but it's too early to tell if it's going to affect business. Obviously the children's areas of the park won't be affected but in the adult gambling areas a lot of our customers do seem to smoke.”

Mr Manning said he is worried customers may turn to the internet and gamble at home where they will be able to smoke.

He added: “Everyone is in the same boat and people will have to accept the ban. We used to smoke on planes but it's now accepted by everyone that you can't.”

Ugur Vata, patron of The Galley restaurants in Ipswich and in Woodbridge, said the ban will improve the environment for customers.

He said: “The Woodbridge restaurant is already non-smoking and we only allow smoking at certain times in Ipswich. The ban will mean customers will be able to enjoy food without someone smoking nearby. We welcome it for our customers and our staff.”

Karen Gough, sales and marketing manager of the Salthouse Harbour Hotel on Ipswich Waterfront and The Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds, said both hotels have been non-smoking for a year already.

She said: “We have a couple of rooms that you can smoke in and the ban will continue but the rest of the hotels are non-smoking and we have never had any complaints about this. We are welcoming the ban.”

At Ipswich Golf Club, in Bucklesham, the ban is also welcome. Food and beverage manager Kate Roberts said: “Two-and-half years ago we declared one of our two bars non-smoking and in August last year we made the other bar non-smoking. If anything it has increased trade. If people want to smoke they just go outside.”

At Churches Bar and Bistro in Tower Churchyard, Ipswich assistant manager Lisa Phillips said the ban would be a good for the health of the bar's eight staff. She added: “We have an outside area where smokers will be able to go. I think a lot of our customers will bee pleased about the ban, as it can get very smoky and not everyone likes it.”

Ross Keough, owner of Keo Bar and Restaurant in Ipswich's St Nicholas Street, welcomed the ban. He said: “We have a garden where smokers will be able to go and 100 per cent of our dining area is already non-smoking. All establishments will be in the same position so no one will have an unfair advantage.”

At Trimley Sports and Social Club in High Road, Trimley St Martin, manager Angie Duffield said members had mixed views about the ban. She said: “The smokers are opposed to the ban and we will have to provide a covered area outside for them to smoke in during the winter. But it has got to happen and people will accept it in the long run.”

Michael Bunn, owner of Seckford Hall Hotel and Restaurant, said he welcomed the ban from a business point of view but had other concerns about the legislation.

He said: “We have yet to have definitive guidelines from the government on what sort of outside shelter we can put up. I think it is a little bit ill-conceived and not properly thought through. I fail to understand why we cannot have a designated and well ventilated smoking room for people who wish to smoke can use.”

Cafés will also be affected by the ban.

Jane Skinner, owner of Jack's Cafe in London Road, Ipswich, said she is not welcoming the ban from a business point of view. She said: “Many of our customers are workmen and taxi drivers and they come in here as they know they can smoke and relax.

“We have no non-smoking area and I'm worried the ban will affect trade though everywhere else will be in the same position. We are preparing an outside area for smokers when the ban and comes into force.”

Joanna Harvey, manager at The Alex restaurant, in Undercliff Road, Felixstowe, welcomes the ban.

She said: “We made our restaurant no smoking last year and there was no fuss at all. Non-smoking is a nice and clean environment.”

Greg Morgan, owner of Morgan's Café and Bistro in Arcade Street, Ipswich, said he welcomed the ban.

He added: “It might hurt trade to begin with but I think people will get used to it. Nobody likes passive smoking.”

At Ipswich Caribbean Association members are expecting the ban will affect trade initially.

Association member Albert Grant said: “People will soon get used to the ban and I imagine the majority of members will support the ban.”

At Suffolk County Council headquarters Endeavour House is already a non-smoking building. About 1,000 people work there.

Graham Newman, councillor with responsibility for adult and community services, said: “Suffolk County Council is entirely supportive of measures that help people to smoke less or stop smoking.

“All the medical evidence shows that the biggest single thing smokers can do to prolong their lives, stay healthy and avoid serious long-term disabling illness, is to give up the habit.”

Miriam Harrup, communications and community manager for the East of England Co-operative Society said: “All staff and customer areas of East of England Co-operative Society premises are non-smoking and have been so for sometime.

“We have received positive feedback from our customers who have welcomed the change, particularly in our restaurants.”

What do you think of the ban? Will you accept the changes? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-maileveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

To contact the Suffolk Stop Smoking Service about free support locally, call freephone 0800 085 6037.

Over half a million adults aged 35 and over in England in 2004/05, were estimated to be due to smoking.

A TOTAL ban on smoking in enclosed public places will come into force in England on July 1.

The Government is currently finalising the regulations but it is certain that all pubs, clubs (including private clubs and nightclubs), restaurants and cafes will be affected along with workplaces and company cars.

Exceptions include private homes, residential care homes, some hospitals, prisons and hotel bedrooms. Film and theatre stages will also be exempt.

What is second-hand smoke?

Is the breathing in of other people's cigarette smoke.

Is made up of “side stream” smoke from the burning tip of the cigarette and “mainstream” smoke exhaled by the smoker.

You might hear second-hand smoke also referred to as 'passive smoking' and 'environmental tobacco smoke' (ETS).

Is a major source of indoor air pollution.

What does second-hand smoke contain?

Second-hand smoke contains five regulated hazardous air pollutants, 47 regulated hazardous waste, more than 100 chemical poisons and more than 50 known or suspected cancer causing agents.

Some examples are:

Example Also found in

Acetone Nail polish remover

Arsenic Rat poison

Benzene Industrial solvent

Benxopyrene Diesel exhaust

Carbon Monoxide Car exhaust

Formaldehyde Preservative for dead bodies, wood

fabrics

Methane Swamp gas

Nicotine Insecticide and the addictive drug in tobacco

Silicon Computer chips

Vinyl chloride Raw materials to make plastic

Zinc Metal coins

Effects include:

Shortness of breath, wheeze, cough, nausea, headache and irritation to the eyes.

Increase the risk of lung cancer by 20-30pc in people who live with smokers.

Increase the risk of coronary heart disease by 25-30pc.

The British Medical Association estimate that at least 1,000 people die each year in the UK of lung cancer from exposure to second-hand smoke.

Smoking around children has been linked in scientific studies to increased likelihood of sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, and middle ear disease.

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