Pub Closures

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It is generally thought among smokers, though not among anti-smokers, that the 2007 introduction of the indoor smoking ban in England and Wales, and the 2006 smoking ban in Scotland has encouraged more pubs to close than otherwise would have.

The ostensible reason for the introduction was for the health of pub workers, in order to protect them from second hand smoke, but the evidence - and subsequent claims by anti-smokers - belie this.

CR Consulting (2011) researched closures in the 3 countries around the time of the ban and found that there was a correlation between the month of the introduction of the ban in the respective countries with an increased decline in the number of pubs.

Road To Ruin, published in June 2017[1], takes a longer-term look at the ban and covers

  • the evidence for protecting workers from second-hand smoke was weak and ambigious
  • evidence for improved health is controversial and even illusory
  • smoking rates have not significantly deviated from long term trends since the ban
  • pub closures as a direct consequence of the ban
  • the creeping expansion of laws to ban outdoor smoking

sp¡ked covered it by saying

A report by the University of Sheffield earlier this year found that there was a 30 per cent reduction in pubs, bars and clubs located within one kilometre of England’s most socially deprived postcodes since the ban, in areas like Tower Hamlets in London, Oldham in north-west England, and West Bromwich near Birmingham. A report for the Mayor of London found that the city has lost a quarter of its pubs, with the worst-hit areas being Barking and Dagenham (56 per cent) and Newham (52 per cent). To reiterate: these losses are not solely down to the smoking ban, but it played an important role. [2]