The Nederlands Government decided November last year the smoking ban will no longer apply in small bars that have no staff. Small means less than 70 sq.m. (about (750 sq.ft.)
The reason is that these small but popular bars (bruin bars) had no space to create a separate smoking room and would be suffering competition from larger bars. Under the revision allowing the bars to open is the condition is that the bar must have no staff but be run by its owner. This is a snag but which could be got round by making staff co-owners.
I have always thought that pubs, where space allowed, could have pleasant smoke free areas. My local club the Royal British Legion, Lymington, seemed to deal with smoke very effectively by having massive and effective air scrubbers on the ceiling. They didn’t have segregated areas but could easily have done so had the new laws not been so draconian.
Before the law many of the larger pub chains were also beginning to introduce segregated areas. This should have been allowed to continue with the new law imposing segregation on all establishments over a given size. Smaller establishments should be given the choice.
My local pub is of an area just about 175 sq.ft. It couldn’t really have two separate areas. 70% of its clientele smoke. I think landlords of pubs this size should be given the option of smoking or not smoking.
If the Government is determined not to make any concessions It could encourage more pleasant, and more enclosed outside smoking areas with some warmth (ok there is the global warming issue). Having a shelter with effectively two sides open to the elements is unfair to the smoker, it’s if the government wants molly coddle the non-smoker and penalise the smoker, turning the smoker into a pariah. Non smokers get dry and often upholstered seats, smokers often get hard, sometimes damp seats, sometimes no seats. Smokers either in or out of the shelters are often criticised by non smokers when the weather is fine, further adding to the pariah image of the smoker. Non smokers should be reminded that they do not actually own the atmosphere. Pubs without gardens have to push their smokers into the streets which does not greatly add to the image of the pub and the non smoke may have to enter the pub through a pall of smoke, nothing to stop the smoke blowing inside the pub anyway.
I say let’s adopt something like the Dutch revisions allowing small pubs to decide whether they are smoking or not and allow larger pubs to have segregated areas (not the bus shelter outside approach) this doesn’t stop any pub bar or restaurant going totally non smoking.
If we are going to have bans perhaps can we do something about other unpleasantnesses – snogging in public – perhaps pubs should have bicycle sheds for snogging, blowing noses, farting etc.
And now pubs are non smoking, patrons (or the law) may like to consider the need for personal hygiene a little more now that smells are no longer masked by lovely acrid cigarette smoke.