Pubs struggle with smoke ban and economy

PUBS and clubs in Ipswich may have got rid of the smell of stale smoke a year on from the tobacco ban but they now face increased costs, it was claimed today.

Naomi Cassidy

PUBS and clubs in Ipswich may have got rid of the smell of stale smoke a year on from the tobacco ban but they now face increased costs, it was claimed today.

Since legislation to prevent smoking in public places across England was enforced in July last year, nightspots everywhere had to ensure smokers were properly catered for with outdoor spaces, which involved installing and maintaining heating and lighting.

Tom West, owner of Tonic Bar and Lounge, in Falcon Street, Ipswich, said with the dramatic rises of energy prices, the smoking ban has been costly and on top of the general slump in the economy, business is not exactly booming.

He said: “As a bar owner, it has increased our floor space but it is more costly because we have had to put more lighting and gas heaters outside. With the rising cost of energy prices, it is not a good situation. We also have to pay for staff to work more hours because it takes longer to clean up outside.

“For the first six months after the ban, there was an increase in business but then it went down. May was dreadful because it was a long month for people to be paid and it was a double bank holiday so people didn't have any money to go out.”

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Findings revealed recently that 1,400 pubs closed in England and Wales, which was a sharp increase from the previous year when only 216 closed.

However Heather Kempton, landlady of The Emperor in Norwich Road, Ipswich, said her pub has been doing a decent trade since she took over last September.

She said: “We did not come to the pub until September and it had been running for 18 months before that as a no-smoking pub.

“We have since put a roof over a smoking area and some heating and lighting. It is going OK and trade has even picked up.”

The ban has also seen a positive effect with almost 4,000 people in Suffolk reported to have quit in the past year.

Hilary Andrews, co-ordinator of the Suffolk Stop Service, said: “Our impression is that everyone has really embraced this smoke-free legislation and it is through our smokers we work with that we see it as a really positive thing.

“It helps encourage smokers to have a go at quitting.”

Anyone wanting help to give up should contact the Suffolk Stop Smoking Service on 0800 0856037.

How has the smoking ban affected you a year on? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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