Tuesday, April 25, 2006


According to the Morning Advertiser (20th April), the smoking ban has made no difference or has improved trade in Scotland. But their sample was ludicrously small - 50 pubs.

24 said trade impoved, 21 said it remained unchanged and 5 reported a drop in sales. Of the beer-led pubs interviewed, "some said trade had not been affected". Some? Some? How many is some? How many were wet-led of the 50 pub sample? It seems none of the wet-led claimed an improvement in trade, or they would have emphasised that, I feel.

In Ireland, the smoking ban is claimed as a success. However, is it true that around 2000 pubs have closed? And is it possible that the reason alcohol sales remain steady is because statisticians often include off-sales? And is it right that "smirting" has become a trend over-there, where the outdoor smoking areas have become big as places to flirt and meet people? And the government are worried that actually some daft buggers are taking up smoking so they can join the "smirting"?

Of course, as a non-smoker - and remembering how my eyes used to stream sometimes with the smoke when working in one of the pubs we ran - I can't say I'm a big fan of smoking. :)

But I do question claims that it won't affect the trade badly on the basis of a 50 pub sample after 3 weeks or so.

I think that pubs can be great focal points in communities, although there can be social problems attached where alcohol is involved. If you look at the local here: it puts on events, raises money for charities and for local needs, (such as building a village playground and contributing to the village hall rebuild). It's an asset to the community.

It feels like the trade is under attack while personal responsibility is being over-looked.

They have recently increased levels of fine for staff who serve under-age customers to several thousand. I'm in favour of people thinking about who they are serving and making checks, and being held culpable if they don't.

Yet at the same time, the under-age person doesn't seem to be held responsible at all. And that seems wrong to me. The buyer is deliberately breaking the law, while a busy member of bar-staff may be duped or make a mistake. (I realise some pubs serve under-aged people because they don't care and just want their money, but that doesn't apply across the board).

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