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Call to relax smoking ban

29th June 2011

MPs from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have joined up with campaigners to change the law to relax the smoking ban in bars, pubs and clubs.

smokingbar1

The MPs say the smoking ban has had a hugely negative impact on the tobacco industry and want pubs to be able to offer special smoking rooms to customers.

Many UK pubs have shut down recently and some have said the smoking ban was bad for business.

The ban was brought into force in July 2007 in England, with Scotland's ban starting a year earlier in July 2006 and Wales and Northern Ireland's ban in April 2007.

The campaign, called Save Our Pubs and Clubs, said that in the three years since the ban was brought in 467 pubs in Scotland (7.1% of the total number) had closed, 274 (7.3%) in Wales and 4,148 (7.8%) in England.

The campaigners said working men's clubs had been particularly badly affected and many had either shut down or were finding it hard to stay open.

Mick McGlasham, general secretary of the Clubs and Institute Union, which represents more than 2,000 working-men's clubs, said: "The ban was passed because politicians wanted to protect staff and non-smokers, but there is no reason why we cannot have a separate smoking room in what are private premises, especially with modern ventilation."

Greg Knight, Conservative MP for East Yorkshire, said: "This is a unique opportunity for people to show how strongly they feel on this important issue. A modest change in the law, not a repeal of the smoking ban, is all we seek."

 

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