Smoking ban will not affect pub business

By Deborah Condon

Anti-smoking group, ASH Ireland, has challenged pub, restaurant and hotel owners to reveal the hard evidence on which they are basing claims, that profits will plummet if the proposed smoking ban is implemented in their premises from next January.

According to Dr Fenton Howell of ASH, significant new evidence, which has just been published, 'pours scorn on predictions that smoke-free equals economic doom and gloom'.

"ASH Ireland now believes that politicians and the public have been led a merry dance by some interested parties on the impact of smoke free measures. Those worries have now categorically been shown to be unfounded", Dr Howell said.

The new evidence, which was published in 'Tobacco Control', a specialist journal within the British Medical Journal group, was based on the conclusions of almost 100 studies on the impact of smoking restrictions in different countries.

The majority of these studies concluded that businesses had not suffered after smoking restrictions were introduced. Furthermore among the studies that indicated restrictions would damage business, all but one were linked in some way to the tobacco industry.

"This review flatly rejects claims that our hospitality industry will be damaged because we attempt to provide clean air. The conviviality of Irish pubs can well be enjoyed without the risk to health", said Dr Howell.

Any fall in the number of smokers going to pubs as a result of a smoking ban will more than likely be offset by an increase in pub goers who prefer a smoke-free environment, he added.

"The only businesses that will suffer from smoke-free public places are the tobacco companies themselves. They know that smoke-free public places will reduce demand for their lethal products, so they spend a lot of money on expensive spin to scare licensees, businesses and politicians into rejecting legislation that would protect public health", Dr Howell said,

ASH Ireland is now calling on hospitality trade leaders to provide the Government with data, which backs up their claims that a smoking ban will result in severe economic problems.

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