Smoking ban has had ‘positive impact’ on pubs
9 July, 2012
One in five British people is more likely to visit pubs since the smoking ban was introduced, according to new research—the latest evidence in the ongoing debate about the impact of the legislation on the trade.
Research from Market Force Information found that 22.4% of people visit pubs more frequently than they did before the ban was introduced five years ago. It also found that 70% of parents are now more likely to take children to the pub than they were when smoking was permitted.
Market Force’s survey took the views of 4,817 UK customers—though its findings contrast with anecdotal evidence from some in the trade who feel that the smoking ban has damaged trade, and sales of drinks in particular.
Market Force’s Europe CEO Tim Ogle said of the findings: “Publicans have been hit by the economic downturn so it’s encouraging to see that despite the negative reaction to the smoking ban five years ago, it has had a positive impact on the sector.”
The survey also found that 37.4% of potential customers avoided pubs with lots of people smoking near their entrances. “That equates to a lot of lost business and the industry needs to be sensitive to these concerns and ensure they continue to deliver an inclusive and welcoming service to all customers,” said Ogle.
He added that pubs also needed to do more to cater for smokers with proper outside zones. “Pub companies and publicans made significant investments when the smoking ban was introduced but our findings have shown that smokers are still looking for better smoking areas such as cover and seating. It is vital publicans listen to the needs of their smoking customers and keep their designated areas well maintained.”