Pub campaigners bid to alter smoking ban

CAMPAIGNERS fighting for the future of the Great British pub are today attempting to alter the controversial smoking ban.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting for the future of the Great British pub are today attempting to alter the controversial smoking ban.

Even the government accepts the legislation has had a huge impact on trade and is allowing bars to claim business rate reductions.

The ban is often cited as one of the prime factors killing pubs - and now a campaign has been launched in Suffolk to try to amend the law.

Jim Adams is behind the bid and is urging regulars at pubs all over the country to sign a petition.

“The smoking ban should be replaced with a rule that would require all public houses to have a room set aside for smokers instead of the really stupid overall ban,” said Mr Adams, who runs Jim and Donna's Barbers in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe.

“The ban is killing the pub trade and removing from the English way of life one of the most sought after features for tourists coming here. There is no justifiable reason to stop those who wish to smoke from so doing.

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“If there is another part of the pub which is a smoking area then the folk who wish to smoke may so do, and those who want a smoke-free area may have the rest of the establishment - including the food area - to themselves.”

Mr Adams said many pubs used to have a room or bar just for smokers which seemed to work well.

“I will be contacting as many pubs as possible to get them to organise petitions to present to government,” he added.

The Evening Star is highlighting the loss of pubs in the area - more than 100 have closed in living memory - and the threat many are now facing to their future.

Kate Nicholls, head of communications at the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), which represents pubs and bars, said: “Last summer's bad weather and the smoking ban were to blame for a number of closures.

“People are not going to want to stand outside and smoke when the weather is unpleasant and with extremely cheap supermarket drink deals available it just gives people a reason to stay home.”

Would smoking rooms in pubs be a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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