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Pub Becomes One Of The First To Ban Smoking From Its Beer Garden

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Pub Becomes One Of The First To Ban Smoking From Its Beer Garden

Smoking has long been banned in pubs, in fact in a couple of weeks' time it'll be 10 years since the ban was introduced.

Since then, smokers have been confined to dingy smoking shelters at the back of a public house, or, in summer, to a more cheerful beer garden.

For smokers at the Myrtle Tavern in Leeds, that will soon be a thing of the past as landlord has banned it from his outdoor drinking area.

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The idea was first floated in parliament back in April, but the government rejected the idea through fears it could lead to increasing pub closures.

31-year-old Scott Westlake decided to go ahead with the plan anyway in order to make his pub a safer place for children.

Credit: SWNS

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He said: "We've seen a huge increase in families with young children using the outdoor area and we want to make sure the beer garden is a safe and smoke-free environment for children and parents alike.

"It's a decision that hasn't been made lightly, we understand a lot of our customers do smoke, however, we feel it's an important step in the right direction."

Mr Westlake had just spent £100,000 on a purpose-built play area next to the beer garden for children to use during the summer months, as well as announcing a set of outdoor music concerts at the pub which started last weekend.

Scott said: "Concerts will no doubt attract a lot of children so implementing the ban now will make sure everyone enjoys a smoke-free concert."

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Credit: SWNS

All is not lost for smokers though, there is a designated smoking area at the front of the pub.

Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at public health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), welcomed the news.

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She said: "It's a sign of the times that pubs now see commercial advantage in banning smoking outdoors when 10 years ago they were concerned the ban on smoking indoors might kill their business.

"However, we would caution publicans about extending such bans to e-cigarettes. These are much safer alternatives to smoking and there is no evidence that they could harm bystanders."

Credit: SWNS

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The Yorkshire director of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), Kevin Keaveny, added: "Whilst CAMRA is concerned that a total smoking ban on all pubs could have an impact on trade, we recognise that it is ultimately up to the individual licensee to determine best practice for their pub.

"In some cases pubs must diversify their offering in order to fill a niche in the local community and keep their business open.

"[In the case of the Myrtle Tavern] we hope the decision helps to ensure that the pub remains a staple to the local community for years to come."

New smoking laws, in relation to both traditional cigarettes as well as the electronic version, came into action in May.

These laws included the size of the minimum sale quantities, prices and flavoured options being phased out.

According to the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the UK has lost 21,000 pubs since 1980 with over half of these taking place since 2006.

One of the reasons given, alongside recession, taxation and lowering alcohol consumption, is that of regulation. The UK, perhaps, with tighter restrictions than that of its European neighbours.

Credit: PA

The articles reads: "The smoking ban which, unlike that of most other countries, allows no exemptions whatsoever for the hospitality industry.

"The UK's smoking bans correlate more closely with the collapse in pub numbers than any other factor and it is now widely acknowledged that the ban has damaged many pubs."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: Leeds, Smoking

Michael Minay
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