So what do the pubs think?

A TOTAL ban on smoking in enclosed public places will come into force across England on July 1 and the days of a pint and a fag at the bar are numbered.

A TOTAL ban on smoking in enclosed public places will come into force across England on July 1 and the days of a pint and a fag at the bar are numbered. In the second of our features JAMES MARSTON asks 20 of our county's pubs for their views.

CAN you imagine a pub without smoke?

For centuries smoking and drinking have been intertwined activities in the great British public house.

But that's all about to end.

In July smoking in public enclosed spaces will be banned and lighting up in your local boozer will be against the law. Even a private club run by smokers for smokers, will also be illegal after July 1.

So what do the pubs of Suffolk feel about the ban? Is the legislation designed to protect workers and the public from passive smoking, welcome? Will profits be squeezed as customers stay at home to smoke?

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It seems the response is a mixed bag, of concerns about change and relief that smoking has had its day.

Of the 20 pubs we surveyed, 12 said they expected trade would be adversely affected by the ban. Eight said it would not.

At the Shepherd and Dog in Onehouse, landlord Chris White, who kicked a 60-a-day habit two years ago, said he agreed with the ban in places where food is served.

He said: “I don't do food here and I don't think there would be a problem with smoking carrying on. I'm not completely happy about the ban.

“There won't be a problem implementing it as long as people have enough warning. I think the government are being crafty by bringing in the ban in July when it's warm outside. Our staff smoke and our customers smoke and I'd rather they could carry on in this pub.”

Jane Farr, a non smoker and landlady of Ipswich's Cornhill pub Mannings said she is “worried to death” about the effects of the ban on trade.

She said: “I think it should be up to the landlords. I run a traditional boozer and smoking and drinking go hand in hand. I'm sure people will try to defy the ban and it's going to be difficult to stop them.

“Pubs will never be quite the same again.”

Chris Millen, bar manager at The Salutation in Carr Street, Ipswich, said he welcomed the ban.

He said: “We do a lot of food during the day and people eating don't like smoke around them. We've got an outside area where people can go. I don't think trade will be affected in the long run.”

Smoker Paul Keeble, landlord of the Red Lion in The Thoroughfare, in Woodbridge, said the ban will not be good for business.

He said: “About 80 percent of our customers smoke and the ban is going to make a big difference to our pub. It will be difficult to police at the beginning.”

Business partner in The Venture in Main Road, Chelmondiston, Susan Priest is welcoming the ban.

She said: “I think it is a very good idea. I gave up smoking ten years ago and its only about 20per cent of out customers that smoke. We run a village pub that serves food. I think the ban will encourage more people to come here to eat.

“We already have only a small area of the pub where people can smoke so I don't think it will be difficult to implement at all.”

Jonny Aldis, landlord of Ipswich's first non-smoking pub the Ship Launch Inn in Cliff Lane, said the ban is “fantastic”.

He said: “We are already non smoking. Food and smoking don't go together.”

Lattice Barn landlord John Young said the ban was a good idea as it might help him in his bid to stop smoking but it won't help trade in the Woodbridge Road pub.

He added: “From a business point of view it's not such a good idea. It's traditional to smoke and have a drink. How do you stop an 18 stone drunk from lighting up?”

Doug Morgan, manager at The Station Hotel in Burrell Road, Ipswich, said trade would be adversely affected by the smoking ban.

He added: “I think it's a good idea but don't smoke. The ban is taking away the privilege from those that do smoke. “People won't accept it at all.”

At the Swan Inn in King Street, Ipswich, landlady Pam Wilson said 95pc of her customers enjoy a cigarette.

She said: “We are lucky as we have a courtyard where people can go to smoke. From a personal point of view even though I'm a smoker I don't like working behind a bar when there's smoke everywhere. I have mixed feelings about the ban.

“I think people will get used to it. It's going to be the law.”

At Pin Mill's Butt and Oyster pub assistant bar manager Chris Hodgson said he cannot argue with the health reasons cited for the ban.

He added: “I am a smoker and I'd rather there wasn't a ban but more and more customers are becoming anti-smoking. “I don't think there will be any problems implementing the ban.”

Shaun De Silva, who runs The Brewers Arms in Orford Street, and Freemasons Tavern in Victoria Street said the ban will affect pubs in different ways.

He said: “I think the ban will benefit the Brewers Arms but at the Freemasons 90pc of customers are smokers and the ban will affect trade there. I can't see any problems implementing the ban as it will be the law, it will be highly publicised by the government before it's brought in.”

Rebecca Sadler, manager of The Old Times in Spring Road, Ipswich, is pleased about the ban.

She said: “It's a good idea. The ban means my staff won't have to breathe in other people's smoke. I'm not sure how it might affect trade but I can't see any problems implementing the ban.”

Sheryl McGeown, landlady of the Hand in Hand in High Road, Trimley St Martin, said she welcomes the ban even though she is a smoker.

She said: “The working environment will be much cleaner and it might help people give up. I think it will affect traded in the beginning but not in the long term.

“I think the ban will be a bit of a shock for people and it will mark a cultural change but they'll get used to it. It's not just pubs other public places will be affected too.”

At The Ram in Market Place, Hadleigh, bar manager Mary Phillips said she will use the ban to give up smoking.

She said: “I think it's a good thing and it's something we will just have to get used to. Everywhere is doing it so people will have to adjust.”

Mary said she had concerns that there could be complaint about noise as smokers go outside to smoke.

At the Dales Pub in Dales Road, Ipswich, landlord Steve O'Hagan, a non-smoker, is backing the ban.

He said: “It's a huge change but like all these new laws that have been passed in recent years we will get used to it. “We serve food and I don't think eating and smoking mix that well anyway.”

Nigel Paul, landlord of The Greyhound pub in Henley Road, Ipswich, said the ban will mean he will have to concentrate on serving food to retain profit margins.

He said: “There will always be someone who smokes in the toilets and it is up to the licensees to police that which I do think is wrong. I am also worried about customers who will have to go out in the cold in the winter months.”

John Keatley, landlord of The Fat Cat in Spring Road, Ipswich, said he has never smoked but does not mind smokers in his pub.

He said: “I'd rather carry on smoking and drinking here as I think smoking and drinking go hand in hand. We will provide a shelter for those that smoke outside.

“I don't think it will affect trade and there won't be many problems implementing the new law. I think there is a public mood in support of the ban.”

Kate Baxter, landlady of The Crown in Crown Street, Stowmarket, said she expects trade will be affected by the ban.

She said: “I don't serve food and I run a drinkers pub. I think we should have returned to the tradition smoke rooms and non smoke rooms.

“The blanket ban seems a bit harsh but for health reasons it is justified. The onus on the licence to police the ban is unfair.”

She also said she has concerns that noise from smokers congregating outside will cause complaints from the pub's neighbours.

Charlie Clarke, landlord of The Buregate Pub in Sea Road, Felixstowe, said the ban will be good for the health of his staff and customers.

He added: “I've got mixed feelings about the ban. I am worried about the effect on trade. About 90pc of my customers smoke and they will have to go outside. I don't think they will like it.”

Are you annoyed you won't be able to smoke and drink at the bar or are you pleased your local will be smoke free? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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.

Where will smoking be banned?

Smoking in all public places like pubs, cinemas, offices, factories, public transport and so on will be banned.

When will the ban come into force?

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced the ban would be enforced from July 1.

Where will you be able to smoke?

People will still be able to smoke outdoors, and in private homes, plus places that Ms Hewitt says are "like homes", such as care institutions, army barracks, and prisons.

What about private clubs?

The ban will apply there too. Calls for the private clubs and pubs serving food to be exempt from a ban were rejected.

What health benefits do the government expect?

Protecting everyone from second-hand smoke, while making it easier for smokers to quit. The government predicts about 600,000 people will give up smoking as a result of the law change.

Why not a partial ban?

Those demanding a total ban argued it was a matter of public health, particularly protecting people working in pubs and private clubs from the effects of passive smoking. They said that having a partial ban would give private clubs an unfair economic advantage against nearby pubs.

They also said that allowing smoking in pubs which do not serve food would widen health inequalities, on the basis that many pubs in less well off areas would choose not to serve food, so their clientele and staff would suffer the effects of passive smoking.

December 2004: New Zealand

March 2004: Irish Republic

January 2005: Italy

June 2005: Sweden

March 2006: Scotland

April 2007: Northern Ireland and Wales

July 2007: England

SIX months after the ban is introduced in Scotland Scottish Health Minister Andy Kerr hailed the measure as a success.

Speaking at the time Mr Kerr said: “So far, I've been really encouraged by the extremely positive response we've had for the smoking ban both in Scotland and beyond.

"People across the country are using the ban as an incentive to give up smoking. Others are simply enjoying the opportunity to go out and socialise without having to breathe in second hand smoke.

"But it's in the years to come that I expect to see even bigger benefits. So much of our poor health in Scotland is linked to smoking, and I think this legislation will have a real impact on that in the long term."

ON March 28, 2005 Ireland marked the first anniversary of the country's smoking ban.

Hailed as a huge success the Irish government published figures showing cigarettes sales had fallen by as much as 60per cent in pubs with the countries biggest tobacco brand Gallagher reporting an overall drop in sales of 7.5pc.

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern announced that over 7,000 had given up smoking in the past twelve months. And a survey by the Irish Department of Health showed 82pc supported the ban.

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