I wasn’t going to write on this subject again, having written about it exactly a week ago, but as it happens Number 10 has just responded to the petition to relax the smoking ban. Unsurprisingly the answer is ‘no’, but some of the arguments deployed lack credibility. It states, “Survey data, anecdotal evidence and reports in the media seem to indicate that the impact on the hospitality trade as a whole has been at worst neutral and in many cases positive.” Well, my own anecdotal evidence garnered by speaking to licensees about the ban suggests that it has adversely affected trade in pubs, and as I’ve said previously the ban is one of many factors contributing to pub closures.
Unlike some people, I don’t want either the outside bans that some anti-smokers demand or a relaxation of the current laws that the petitioners requested. I’m a non-smoker, not anti-smoking - I just dislike being enveloped in smoke, which is a different thing altogether. Having said that, I don’t think the Government is doing their case any favours by citing dodgy arguments that look as though they’ve been cobbled together on the back of an envelope, but then, as they’ve already enacted the laws which have to be obeyed, I suppose they just can't be bothered to show the petitioners the courtesy of a proper response.