Pub smoking ban fears

AS some Suffolk pubs serving food are considering a total smoking ban, one landlord today said it could lead to him being unable to light up in his own home.

With pics of Lord Nelson, Old Mill House + Brewers Arms and generic smoking pic

By REBECCA LEFORT>

AS some Suffolk pubs serving food are considering a total smoking ban, one landlord today said it could lead to him being unable to light up in his own home.

Nicholas Shephard, owner of the Old Mill House in Saxtead, said: “I smoke myself and because the pub is my home I won't even be able to light up in my own house any more.”

Mr Shephard said he had even considered leaving because of the new laws and was upset at being told how to run his own pub.

Meanwhile some landlords around the county say that not serving food is not an option, others claim that they would lose too many customers if a Government ban goes ahead.

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Nationally a consultation on the Government's proposed move to ban smoking in pubs where food is served came to an end this week.

But according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), one fifth of pubs in the country would be unaffected by the ban, because they would simply stop serving food to get around the new laws.

Both the Earl Kitchener in Hadleigh Road, Ipswich and the Brewers Arms in Orford Road in the town are among the pubs which will be concentrating on drinks, as they believe outlawing smoking would drive their punters away.

And many of the Suffolk pubs which will be sticking with food for now are worried about the effect it will have on trade.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) Royal College of Nursing, Cancer Research, Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) have all issued calls for Britain to follow in the footsteps of the Republic of Ireland and make all enclosed public spaces no-smoking zones.

However the BBPA said they wanted more floor space dedicated to non-smokers within pubs by 2009 and a ban on smoking at the bar implemented by 2007.

Hilary Andrews, Co-ordinator of the Suffolk Stop Smoking Service, said: “I'm not surprised that some pubs have decided to stop serving food, this is the problem with partial legislation.

“The government have been lobbied by public health workers and doctors who tell them that a half ban is not workable and will actually increase inequalities.

“The idea is not to tell smokers what to do but to protect people from the dangers of second hand smoke and so I'd like to see a complete ban in public places because non-smoking environments help people quit.”

The Suffolk Stop Smoking Service can be contacted on 0800 085 6037.

What the landlords say;

Tracy Root, Manageress, The Lord Nelson, Fore St, Ipswich: “We will carry on serving food.

“The pub is already non-smoking and we even did a survey before we made that decision which showed that most people were in favour of it, even the smokers.”

Alan Cooper, Landlord, The Earl Kitchener, Hadleigh Road, Ipswich: “The smoking ban was definitely an incentive to stop serving food.

“Food is labour intensive so unless you're food is your main business there is no point any more.”

Shaun De Silva, Owner, The Brewer's Arms, Orford Street, Ipswich: “We're definitely going to stop serving food when the ban comes in.

“We're not upset about it because 98 per cent of our sales are from drinks, but the government still shouldn't go ahead with the ban.”

Ben Yates, Landlord, Ye Old Bell and Steelyard, New Street, Woodbridge: “Food is the most important thing for us and once we have to ban smoking I don't think it will have a major negative effect.”

Ian Shipp, Landlord, The Chestnut Horse, The Green, Great Finborough, Stowmarket: “We will definitely lose customers because of the ban but we'll still serve food for now.

“We'll play it by ear and might change our mind at some point but at least everyone knows it's not our fault.”

Angela Halsey, Landlady, The Brewery Tap, Cliff Quay, Ipswich: “There is no way we'll stop serving food even though we're sure it will hurt trade.

“We'll have to see whether the government change their mind about this silly policy.”

Sally Selvage, The Trowel and Hammer, Mill Road, Cotton, near Stowmarket: “We want to cater for everyone's needs so we will still continue to serve food at the moment but will review the situation if we lose lots of customers.”

Elly White, licensee of The Retreat, The Green, Stowupland,: “The ban won't affect me as people ring up and are pleased when I tell them it's already non-smoking.”

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