Around £100 million has been spent renovating outdoor areas for smokers ... sales of patio heaters have doubled to 3.2 million (prompting complaints from environmentalists) ... but following the British government's ban on smoking in pubs, smokers are staying home in large numbers instead of patronising their local -- and non-smokers have been staying home with them.
As the Express reports, and despite predictions to the contrary from anti-smoking zealots before the ban was imposed, British pubs "are facing an uphill struggle to attract customers." It's been the same in every benighted part of the world where the zealots have trampled on the property rights of pub and bar owners.
“Trading conditions are incredibly tough. We’re seeing hundreds of pub closures and smoking is definitely a factor,” says a spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association.
“Current closures will certainly continue for the foreseeable future. At the moment 27 pubs are closing every week” ...
Pubs are not the only businesses suffering – there are more than 600 bingo clubs countrywide and most say customers are disappearing in the wake of the ban.
"I hate the ban," says smoking rebel Bill King. "It has turned the country into a dictatorship... Why not have smoking and non-smoking pubs? And as for the nonsense about smokers being a drain on the NHS, well the tax on a pack of 20 comes to about £4.20 so I think it’s the smokers who keep the NHS going.”
I'd be interested to see some local figures, if anyone has been able to collate them?
UPDATE: Lindsay Mitchell has graciously provided the local figures here, and the words "cash' and "cow" spring immediately to mind. Anti-smoking zealots please take note.