WHAT DO YOU THINK?

PUBLISHED: 12:41 23 February 2006 | UPDATED: 11:33 04 May 2010

Steve Beech

Steve Beech

MPs voted by a margin of 200 last week to ban smoking in all pubs, clubs and restaurants in England by summer 2007. Health campaigners have welcomed the move, saying evidence about the harmful effects of passive smoking was too compelling to ignore, but

Jenny Parramint

MPs voted by a margin of 200 last week to ban smoking in all pubs, clubs and restaurants in England by summer 2007.

Health campaigners have welcomed the move, saying evidence about the harmful effects of passive smoking was too compelling to ignore, but the hospitality industry has expressed grave concerns about the effects on business.

The Ely Standard visited publicans and drinkers in Soham to see what they thought about the impending ban..... IAN RAY reports

Matthew Howard

Steve Beech, 27, joint manager, The Cherry Tree.

Will the smoking ban affect business?

To be honest, I don't know. It's good that it's a blanket ban, so we are not being singled out for serving food.

Do you smoke yourself?

Geoff Fisher

I am a smoker. I'm not one to preach, but I don't like people smoking if I'm eating.

What is your current smoking policy?

People can smoke wherever here. People can smoke at the bar. When we came here six months ago, there were rules about everything and a lot of signs around. We took them down and decided to play it by ear, so we could see what people wanted. We've had no complaints about people smoking.

How will the ban affect The Cherry Tree?

David Dawkins

We've got an outside area which we may make into a smoking area.

What sort of proportion of your clientele smoke?

In the evenings, we get a lot of regulars, like the pool team and the darts team, who are about 70 per cent smokers.

Jenny Parramint, 21, manager of The Ship.

Will the smoking ban affect business here?

It might be a problem for the first few months but after that I don't think so.

What are your personal feelings about smoking?

It doesn't really worry me either way.

What is your current smoking policy?

You can smoke everywhere here.

Do you think it will be hard for customers to adjust?

I think it will be easier with a blanket ban.

We are having an outside bar fitted anyway, where people will be allowed to smoke, so it shouldn't affect things.

Should publicans be compensated for loss of business?

No - I think that would be ridiculous.

Matthew Howard, 18, a student from Fordham.

Will pubs lose trade?

I don't know - you always walk into a pub and see people smoking. I think people will just go outside.

Do you smoke?

I do.

What would be your response to the idea that this legislation represents a step towards a "nanny state"?

Smoking is bad for you but it is a personal choice.

The argument may be that passive smokers don't make a choice...

That is an argument, yes, but you do have pubs that have a ventilation system.

It's a huge cultural change - do you think it can happen?

Maybe eventually, but for the time being, it's going to take a while.

Geoff Fisher, assistant at the Ross Peers Sports Centre.

How will the smoking ban affect trade at the sports centre?

The only area it will affect here is in the bar and on the bowls green. It will predominantly affect the OAPs.

What is your current smoking policy?

We don't do food, so it doesn't affect us at the moment.

What proportion of your customers are smokers?

It's not necessarily the people who do what you might think of as more active sports who smoke, ie, people from the bowls and the pool team. People going to the gym are not likely to smoke.

The majority of the customers don't smoke. If it's an overall ban it becomes part and parcel of it. There will be people in the sports centre who will be very pleased about it because they've come here to get fit.

David Dawkins, owner/manager of Poppies Bistro in Soham.

What is your current smoking policy?

It is non-smoking here. I am an ex-smoker of an 80-a-day habit - I quit seven years ago. I don't think it is appropriate in a restaurant environment. Food is definitely a no-no.

But I would fight for the right for somebody to smoke as much as for somebody not to smoke. The decision should be made by the proprietor of the establishment.

Would you go along with the argument that Britain is becoming a "nanny state"?

I think the Government have double standards - I think it's a massive tax revenue earner, smoking. The worst drugs in this country are alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, but you don't ban them. It's a question of social acceptance.

Will it affect trade in the country?

I don't think people will lose money. People will go outside to smoke and then come in again. They will lose money for heating costs more than anything!

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