Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Smoking ban short of puff

Well, well, this is very nice.
Plans for a partial ban of smoking in pubs, cafes and restaurants in England are set to be dropped.

Will Our Glorious First Minister is persuaded that banning smoking in public spaces is a good idea.
The Republic of Ireland has introduced a ban on smoking in public places.

Speaking during a visit there last week, First Minister Jack McConnell said Scotland could learn positive lessons from the Irish experience.

If there is anything positive, it is unlikely to be publican's bank accounts.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) claims the ban cost Irish pubs £80m over the first seven months.

Its research found turnover in licensed premises in Ireland was 7.3% lower than it would have been without the ban for the first seven months after the ban was introduced.

Bars, nightclubs and public houses also saw a 10.7% drop in trade in the same period, while the number of jobs in Ireland's hospitality sector fell 5.9% over the first five months of the ban.

CEBR's managing director, Mark Pragnell, said: "Our research shows that smoking bans can seriously damage the health of the pub and restaurant sector.

"The initial evidence from Ireland is clear: smoke-free pubs and restaurants have fewer customers and lower revenues.

Wow, scary stuff, eh? Well, luckily ASH is here to save us:
Naomi King, director of Ash Wales, said its own figures showed a 3.5% drop in trade in Ireland's hospitality sector after the ban was brought in was consistent with a longer term sales downturn.

She said: "We have figures showing that it's been a huge success and everybody is happy with it.

Um, well; is anyone else thinking what I'm thinking? Come on, Naomi: get yer facts out for the lads. No, really, Naomi. Let's see your figures. No, no, really, I'm being serious. Hello? Hello? Naomi?

Now, ladies and gentlemen, a lower proportion of the population now smoke than they did 60 years ago, and yet lung cancer is still on the rise. Now, can anybody think of a polluting agent that has been on an almost exponential rise for the last 60 years? Anyone? Bueller?

I tell you what: here's a clue.

Brrrrmmmm, brrrmmmm...

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