The headline “Smoking Ban Boosts Pub Takings” from thelondonpaper last week (Wednesday 24th January) surprised me. Apparently 61 out of 103 Wetherspoon pubs which have already instituted a smoking ban, ahead of the full ban in England in July this year, have seen a growth in sales.
Of course this may be because they were specifically selected out of the 665 outlets that Wetherspoon owns and therefore more likely to have clients who were positive about the ban. But it still suggests that England’s smoking ban may not be as calamitous for the pub industry as we were continually warned at the time of the smoking ban debate. The pro-smoking lobby group FOREST doggedly carries on with its tobacco industry-funded mission of opposing the ban. But if one of Britain’s largest pub chains even say that they welcome the ban, it looks like one of the more compelling arguments against the ban – the loss of jobs in the industry – may be thankfully less of a problem than expected in July.