Tuesday 10 July 2007

No Smoking at the Bar, Please!

Those of you who live outside the UK may well be oblivious to the change that has taken place to our way of life here.
Some of you who do live here may be unaffected.
And some of you rejoice at the change.

For those of you who don't know, it has been illegal to smoke in enclosed public areas since July 1st.
This includes pubs.

Now I am one of the people affected by this, in that I am a twenty a day smoker.
Naturally, I am used to having a cigarette with my pint.
So how- if it all- has this affected me?

My local pub, the pub I mainly drink at, is very much a working man's pub. It's not a pub where people take a girl to for a meal.
It is a pub where men go to watch Skysports, where the regulars all know eachother, where you have to tell the barmaid you DON'T want another drink, or one will be poured for you anyway.
Eighty percent, if not more, of the regulars are smokers.
If you didn't want to go to a smoky pub, you wouldn't go there.

Nevertheless, the pub has coped well. The Landlord put a new door in, leading direct from the bar into the yard behind and erected a canopy.
Signs direct attention to the door to the yard.

On occasions when there are a handful of people in the pub, the whole pub tends to go out together, much the same way as people do in offices.
And when everyone is out in the yard, there's a fair bit of moaning about the ban.
A semi-serious discussion is ongoing about setting up a fund whereby regulars pay a subscription every week to allow the landlord to keep it a smoking pub. The fund would be used to pay any fines he might get under the new legislation.
It's fighting talk, but it won't happen.

People are starting to enjoy the half hour exodus to the yard. It seems to get people talking to people they hardly talked to before.
It feels a bit like air raid shelters must have been like in the Blitz, especially when it's raining.

When the weather is fine, people seem to take their drinks out and stay.

It's true pubs generally are emptier. It is only the die hard regulars of specific pubs that are going out of loyalty in spite of the ban, because their pub is an important part of their social circle.
But I think the rest will slowly come back when they realise that pubs haven't in fact died.

They can't kill the great British pub that easily.


Anonymous said...

You hit a sensitive spot for me. our county has just passed a law that smoking needs ot be not in restaurants and bars and it makes me angry. I don't like having people tell me what i can and cant do. it seems absurd to ban smoking in bars and pubs b/c that is an association that will always be. I am also a smoker who will gladly go outside for a smoke in the office setting, but while in a bar, I would like ot stay put. It won't pass in our town as all the towns in this county get to choose, but it upsets me nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Damn global warming(err climate change) and GW Bush!!!!!

Anonymous said...

How will it be in the winter, though?

In a lot of places in the U.S., smoking is illegal in almost every workplace (including bars). It seems to vary state by state and county by county, but where I live you can't smoke indoors anywhere but a nightclub.

NYC passed similar legislation several years ago.

I can't say I was disappointed when the laws changed, because at the time I was working in a bar and came home smelling like smoke every night. Even as a smoker, that got pretty old.

Still, I understand the inconvenience.

Anonymous said...

Wait until the winter weather gets here and see how much people enjoy the trip then.

Anonymous said...


It is Wednesday and I have only 14 votes from 49.

If you're thinking of waiting until the last minute, may I beg you to reconsider. Though we gave a date of Friday evening, the longer our members refrain from voting, the longer we are preserving the agony.

May I humbly and respectfully ask that you don't let it go that long but get your vote in soon so we know what is happening?

Yours, James

Anonymous said...

Interesting... I thought the ban was good for everyone, and that smokers got what they well-deserved (here's a message for you - don't smoke! It'll kill you... And that's your doctor speaking ;-)).

Now you put it this way, though, I don't think pubs should count as a public place... ;-) Hmmm... maybe you could have a smoker's club, though, and then it'd be private. On the other hand, as you say, the half-hour sessions seem to have their pros...:-)

Back to you - try to quit! It's for your own good ;-)

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, I guess you should be allowed to smoke in the bar, since excessive drinking is just as bad as chronic smoking. So yes, perhaps they should make an exception - you can smoke if you're going to be ruining your health some other way anyway...:-)

Anonymous said...

Jenny- The way I see it, if people wanted no smoking pubs, the market would have provided them.

Lord N- More Damn Blair and his pandering to the nannying health fascists.

Ruthie- The new laws apply to nightclubs too. I've not been to one since the new rules, but I'd be interested to see what- if any- provision has been made for smokers.
But for example, I was in the pub yesterday, there were seven people there including myself and the landlord, all of whom smoked.
We all had to go outside for a fag. There weren't even any non smokers to passively breathe in our smoke!!!

Marquis- I can understand the urgency, I will try to fomrulate an opinion as soon as possible.

Eve- Many pubs are almost private members clubs, especially ones like my local.
Quitting smoking would possibly wise in terms of saving me fifty quid a week every week, as well as possibly stopping the nasty cough I have every morning.
But I have no willpower.

Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to go to a pub like the one you described in your post. I love the sound of it.

Smoking is being out lawed here in AUstralia in all public arenas. I'm not a smoker anymore so I cannot say it effects me but when I go to a bar or a pub smoking and drinking always goes hand in hand.

It's going to be strange huh?

Anonymous said...

Same here, which is good for the waitresses, but it creates groups of smokers right outside of the pub's, and you still gotta go right through the fog-screen...

Anonymous said...

It's been no smoking in Wales since March and I believe in Ireland it's been a few years. I am delighted! Sorry ...

Anonymous said...

I live in a city that is smoke free. The local bar owners were given a choice of either installing a new air system where part of the bar could be for the smokers and the rest would be smoke free. Most of the bars cannot afford such a costly endevour. Most of them just put a bunch of tables and a bar out on the back of the bar. Some of the die hard bars like the one you frequent just turns a blind eye to the smokers. Here the smoker, not the bar is responsible for following the law.I enjoy being able to go hear some live music and not coming home smelling like a cigarette! You should quit ya know!

Anonymous said...

I used to smoke 20 a day too, don't know how you can afford it Crushed. We haven't heard anything about this ban since 1st July, so do keep us posted, particularly in the winter months when it gets colder.

Anonymous said...

They can't kill the great British pub that easily.

Not so sure they can't Mr Ingsoc... I speak as a former publican and restaurateur and a regular pub visitor. Many "Pubs" aren't anymore, they look like Pubs, they are in buildings that used to be pubs - but they are restaurants.

Real Pubs are closing all the time. For many, the smoking ban will be the final straw in terms of loss of trade. Some smokers will stop smoking, some will compromise but some will not come any more. You say 80% smoke? What if a quarter of those stopped coming? Pubs can't survive that loss of trade. For me, its changed my habits. I pop in for a quick pint in the evening - but I wouldn't dream of staying long as the offer doesn't suit. I wouldn't stay and listen to a nose flute band or watch a curling match and I won't stay in a pub with no smoke. I guess I have cut my trade by about 50% or more. Same as many others I think.

Pub margins on traditional drinks are wafer thin right now (energy price rises, property costs, interest rates, minimum wages etc)and they depend on volume to create a worthwhile profit from turnover.

Oh, and right now it is possible to buy 3 cans of lager for the price of half a pint in a pub....I certainly would not go back into the trade nor advise anyone to get involved with it in anyway.

Anonymous said...

Ohio passed a no-smoking in public places 'ban' in January and of course we heard all the same arguments. I'm not a smoker, so it is nice to go in and not smell like smoke when you leave (Of course then you have to run the gauntlet of smoke outside the exit). Times they are a changin'

Anonymous said...

Had to smile imagining you all out there enjoying the "spirit of the Blitz". You know what I think - I want clean air in bars and pubs. The ban has been in force in Italy for 3 years and surprisingly, it is mostly respected. But smokers tend to go outside their own houses to smoke here because the women are so fanatical about cleaning!

Anonymous said...

What kills me is that they will round up and shoot the smokers yet many countries will turn a blind eye to industrial waste dumpage.
In Canada we had a law enacted over 8 years ago that we could not smoke in any government building or public place or even within 500 feet of a public building. Soon they will just shoot us on sight!
Personally,I think whining ,holier- than-though non smokers should be put to death..preferably set on fire.

Anonymous said...

Betty- It's very strange. I'm so used to walking up to the bar and putting my fags and my phone on it. It does mean that conversation now takes place in half hour bursts now.

Heart- We don't really have waitresses in our pubs, but now we certainly do have a lot more people utside a pub than in, at any one time.

Liz- Hmmm. If there was a market for no smoking pubs, there'd already by loads.
Many pubs had no smoking lounges anyway.
My local pub- it was always empty. even non smokers didn't go in there, because it was dead.

Poody- A lot of pubs here DId have areas where food was served and were non smoking. This is because the bar and the lounge are separate rooms in many of our pubs.
We thast wasn't good enough, i don't know.
I'm 28 and I've been on twenty a day since I was 17/18.
Wish I could stop. But then again, it would be such a life change.

Ellee- Yes, the winter, that will be fun. Thanks for reminding me.
Standing in a gale under a canopy behind my local.
Years ago, we used to joke that one day It would be a fiver for a packet of fags. Now I pay £5.44 for twenty Embassy every day.

Anonymous said...

Mutley- Yes there are a lot of the 'you' trade pubs, where ships just pass in the night and no one knows your name.
I suspect they will be the ones hit hardest.
And good riddance.
A lot of landlords are worried about the loss of custom. Mine was talking to me last night- just to compound his woes Whitbreads have upped his rent- what he's most worried about is people not coming to watch the football.
Who wants to go forty five minutes of football without a fag.?
Not sure if these rules apply to St Andrews. Better check that actually.

Helen- Times they are a changin. I bet people said that in 1933.

Welshcakes- One of the nice things about being a pub was that you COULD smoke in them.
One of the last retreats.

Ego- There is a certain poetic justice to your idea.
Why can't smokers have a pub that non smokers are banned from?

Anonymous said...

Right! Thanks for checking ot make sure I am banned in China...that was shoking!

Anonymous said...

Next should be a no perfume/after shave law. As bad as smelling like smoke is, I DETEST the smell of most perfumes :)

Yes Eve,smoking MAY kill you, but we already know that cars, walks, weather, food, people and many other things will kill you, do you suggest we give up all of those?

(non-smoker btw, used to but quit)

Anonymous said...

CBI - Okay, there's no answer to that one ;-) It IS a matter of wanting something enough. If I lived with you, I'd offer you incentives to quit, though...;-)

Lord Nazh - Yes, smoking may kill you, and the others MAY (not WILL), too. But it won't be such a tortuous death as smoking... lying there, struggling for each breath.... and then again, if smoking counts as a vice, some would choose to live a life of pleasure first, and pay later...;-)

Anonymous said...

Jenny- I've put it in my sidebar, I find it amusing.
They allow me apparently.

Lord N- Work can kill you I've heard. I'm quite tempted to give it up :)
Seriously, it's getting pretty crazy.
I was in a pub Tuesday with ten customers all of whom smoked. The landlord smoked. Who were we not smoking for?

Eve- Come winter, I feel the negatives. In winter I often wake up struggling to breathe. And I'm 28.
My feeble attempts to date in the direction of giving up, have never lasted long.
Then again, I've never had the benefit of your incentive scheme :)

Anonymous said...


I have never smoked and neither has my wife. She is hyper sensitive to smoking and can smell somebody light up 50metres away. Here in South Australia, there is no smoking near the bar. Sort of like no smoking at the back of a plane when they used to allow smoking on planes.

What I always hated was the morning after smoke smell. That doesn't happen so much now.

I also wonder how people can afford to smoke. It is so expensive.

Anonymous said...

*smiles* I really wish I could help you with that, CBI. Or perhaps, you could come stay in a place where winter never comes - then you wouldn't feel the effects of your lung slowly expiring...:-)

Anonymous said...

Colin- I took at up at about fourteen-fifteen. It was probably having a part time job accelerated it, by the time I went to uni, I was already creeping up to twenty a day. I've stayed at 25-30 a day since, in that i buy a packet slightly more than once a day.

It IS very expensive now, certainly there are a lot of reasons why I wish I didn't smoke. But idly wishing you didn't, and facing the horrors of quitting are different places...

Eve- That would be an offer I couldn't refuse...

Anonymous said...

I was going to ask the same question as Colin, so it's good that it's already answered. 13 years of smoking... it's not that much, and not too late. No irreparable damage yet. Hah, I'd call you to repent; but unfortunately, J, I'm not in a place whre I can offer you the earthly rewards of turning from your ways...;-)