Pub backs smokers

A SUFFOLK pub has bucked the growing the anti-smoking trend by actively promoting the right to light-up on its premises.Karen Jackson, manageress at the Angel Inn, Sudbury, says the habit of smoking while enjoying a pint should not be turned into a crime.

A SUFFOLK pub has bucked the growing the anti-smoking trend by actively promoting the right to light-up on its premises.

Karen Jackson, manageress at the Angel Inn, Sudbury, says the habit of smoking while enjoying a pint should not be turned into a crime.

The pub has now signed up to a campaign launched by the www.Freedom2choose.org.uk website, which is urging the Government not to introduce a blanket ban on smoking in pubs.

In direct opposition to a number of pubs across the region which have decided to ban smoking, Ms Jackson says customers should be allowed to retain freedom of choice.

"To introduce a blanket ban on smoking in pubs would be yet another infringement on human rights. People have to suffer so many rules and regulations regarding smoking in the work place, but in their own leisure time they should be allowed to do what they want," she said.

"If you ban smoking in pubs all it will do is encourage more people to smoke at home, so I don't see the benefit in that."

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Posters with the words Don't Make Smoking in Public Houses a Crime have now been put up in the pub and in the last week more than 50 customers have signed a petition against a blanket ban, which will eventually be sent to the Government.

"I don't think people who want to enjoy a cigarette with a pint should be made to feel like criminals, it is down to personal choice, and traditionally the two go hand in hand," said Ms Jackson.

"If you banned smoking in the pub it would kill the atmosphere, people would have to go outside for a smoke and that just wouldn't be the same, I think it could kill the trade in many pubs."

Ms Jackson said she supports publicans who wanted to ban smoking, but such bans should not be enforced on all drinking establishments.

"We are lucky here because we are big enough to have a non-smoking area, but many smaller establishments would be killed off by a smoking ban."

Ms Jackson said it would also be unfair on staff in pubs if a total smoking ban becomes legislation.

"Working in the pub trade is different to other occupations, it is about socialising and the workers should be allowed to smoke alongside customers if they want. Most pub staff know about the risks of passive smoking so it should be their choice if they want to work in that type of environment."

She added: "We welcome anybody who wants to smoke in this pub and we don't think they should feel guilty about it. A total ban would be very unfair, it is all down to human rights and personal choice."

This week the Beehive pub in Horringer become the latest in a growing number of pubs across East Anglia to introduce a smoking ban.

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