23 April 2006

A Month on from the Smoking Ban, A Major Plus & A Major Minus

Here we are one month one from the wonderful introduction of the smoking ban in Scotland. There have been contradictory reports on effect the ban has had on the takings of Scottish pubs, after three weeks the BBC reports most landlords say business is booming, while the Edinburgh Evening News (Scottish Paper of the Year) reports after four weeks profits have gone up in smoke. Either way there are two new issues to consider, one is wonderful, the other is horrendous. Before I reveal these secrets, let's take a quick look at how other businesses have tried to capitalise on this new healthier country. Sign-a-rama in Dalry has an A-frame outside its stop advertising that it can make all the custom no smoking signs you need - very clever. Next door to it we have Haddows (a very low-brow off licence) with another A-frame reading "come in and talk to our staff about our cigarette prices". Unbelievable. Doesn't that come under tobacco advertising and isn't that also illegal in the UK?

Now when you approach a nice looking pub or bar you don't have to wander inside to see what the clientele is actually like, a good representation will be hanging outside the front door as the least attractive enticement into the venue. No amount of fancy external signs can now hide a seedy, trainspotting-esque bunch of regulars. On the other hand those lovely tables that live outside bars for a few months to savour what little sunshine we get ... forget about them. There will be no sunshine if you somehow manage to get a table, just a large grey cloud of carcinogens. Neil has suggested the reverse the ban in the summer months, forcing smokers to stay inside and let everyone go outside and enjoy their intoxicating beverages whilst soaking up deadly UV rays without any protection (who wears sun cream in Scotland?)...