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"People seem overwhelmingly, in every submission and opinion poll, to want restrictions on smoking. What is not true is that the overwhelming bulk of people - as is sometimes said by some of the lobby groups - want a complete ban in pubs."

Health Secretary John Reid, 10 September 2004

Opinion Polls | Updated | September 2005

Large majority opposed to pub smoking ban

Opinion polls over the last two years demonstrate that people in Britain support legislation to control smoking in public places but, when given a range of options, a clear majority do NOT support a total ban on smoking in pubs, clubs and bars. The latest opinion poll, commissioned by FOREST and conducted by Populus (August 2005), suggests that 70% are opposed to a total ban on smoking in pubs, while only 5% think that reducing smoking rates by banning smoking in public is a major priority for government. Here's some other evidence ...

TWO in three people in favour of smoking restrictions in pubs, says the latest survey published by the Government-run Office for National Statistics (ONS). However, while 65 per cent support restrictions, 68 per cent are opposed to a total ban on smoking in pubs: 47 per cent thought that pubs should be mainly non-smoking with smoking allowed in designated areas, 16 per cent thought the premises should be mainly smoking with a designated non-smoking area, and five per cent thought there should be no restrictions on smoking at all.

Source: ONS (7 July 2005)


HPI Cardinal | June 2005

Bar staff reject smoking ban

A HUGE majority of bar workers are against plans to bring in a smoking ban in pubs. In a major new study of people working in pubs, nine out of 10 said they were happy to work in smoking premises. The study undermines the government's claim that it is acting to protect the health of workers by banning smoking - as the majority in the trade say they would rather be left alone.

The research, carried out by HPI Cardinal for the Atmosphere Improves Results (AIR) industry initiative, found that 91% of barstaff and licensees said they believed ventilation could play a significant role in managing smoke in pubs; 76% want pubs with separate rooms to be able to set one aside as a smoking room, and 48% wanted pubs to be allowed some sort of separate non-smoking areas. Bar workers and licensees said that both pubs and customers should be given a choice on smoking.

Source: The Publican (24 June 2005)


Populus | June 2005

72% opposed to pub smoking ban

THE majority of Britons are opposed to an outright ban on smoking in pubs, bars and clubs, according to a survey by Populus, carried out for the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association. It found people supported separate smoking rooms in workplaces and pubs to accommodate smokers.

The poll found that 84% agreed that smokers should be allowed to smoke provided they did not inconvenience others. Almost three-quarters (72%) thought smoking should continue to be allowed in pubs, clubs and bars, with just 26% supporting an outright ban.

The most popular solution, cited by 45% of those questioned, would be for licensed premises to become mainly non-smoking but with areas or rooms set aside to allow smoking.

Source: Sky News (8 June 2005)


Populus | March 2005

Northern Ireland: public split on smoking ban

THE people of Northern Ireland are divided on whether smoking in public places should be allowed or banned. According to a survey conducted by Populus on behalf of FOREST, a majority (53%) believe smoking should continue to be allowed in at least some enclosed indoor areas of pubs, bars and clubs.

By contrast, a minority (46%) believe that smoking should be banned completely. This is the first major test of public opinion in the province since the Government began a public consultation exercise to assess public attitudes to smoking in public places. The consultation continues until 25 March.

The Populus survey also revealed a significant libertarian streak in Northern Irish attitudes to smoking in public places. 68% believe there should be greater choice of smoking and non-smoking facilities, with everyone free to choose whichever suits their preference. 71% said that smokers should have the right to smoke in some public places, provided they don't inconvenience non-smokers. 62% believe that the Government should not use the law to dictate people's lifestyles.

Populus interviewed a demographically representative sample of 1,004 adult men and women living in Northern Ireland from 7-9 March 2005.


Populus | January 2005

Scotland: big majority favour choice

THE Scottish public does not support the Scottish Executive's proposed approach to controlling smoking in public places. More than 75% of Scots believe that smokers have the right to smoke in public provided they don't inconvenience non-smokers.

The Populus poll, conducted for FOREST, found that a majority (59%) support new legislation. However, when offered a variety of choices instead of a simple blanket ban, 66% of Scots said that pubs, bars and clubs should be able to accommodate smokers. Two-thirds of those surveyed believe it should be up to the owners of licensed premises - and not politicians - to determine their own smoking policy. The same proportion believes that the government should not use legislation to dictate the public's lifestyle choices.

The survey also found that banning smoking at work and in public places does not rank high on the public's list of priorities for improving public health. 39% of Scots believe that reducing poverty should be the Executive's number one priority. This is followed by improving housing conditions (17%); banning advertising of fatty, sugary and salty foods (11%); banning smoking at work and in public places (10%); providing more facilities for physical recreation (9%); and, reducing alcohol consumption (8%).

Populus interviewed a demographically-representative sample of 1,000 people across Scotland from 6-8 January 2005.


Populus | May 2004

74% opposed to pub smoking ban

A Populus poll of 10,000 people in ten regions across Britain show that seven out of ten people do not support a ban on smoking in pubs and bars. The main points to emerge from the comprehensive, regionally representative survey, one of the largest of its kind, were:

� Seven out of ten (74%) people do not support a ban on smoking in pubs, clubs and bars.

� Most (68%) think there should be separate smoking and non-smoking areas, with the majority favouring mainly non-smoking with separate smoking areas.

� Only 24% of people think smoking should be banned completely in all pubs, bars and clubs.

� Two thirds agree that decisions on smoking policy should be left to owners and managers of pubs, clubs and bars, rather than local or central government.

� The majority (56%), including the same proportion of smokers and non-smoker, agree that pub environments have significantly improved and are noticeably less smoky.

� Two thirds of people (66%) agree that the number of non-smoking areas/venues has increased, though 79% say that improvements are still required.

� Of those not in favour of a ban (74%), the vast proportion (93%) say it's better to have a choice of smoking or non-smoking facilities than banning it altogether.

The research was carried out by Populus by way of a random telephone poll of 10,000 adults aged 18+ and living in Great Britain, between 20th April and 2nd May, 2004. One thousand interviews were conducted in each of eight cities -
Birmingham,Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Greater Manchester and Sheffield - and in the North East region of England, and Scotland.


Office for National Statistics | July 2004

Only 20% support pub smoking ban

A survey by the Office for National Statistics found growing support for partial restrictions on smoking in pubs, restaurants, stations, shopping centres and places of work. But most people said they would rather have designated non-smoking areas than an outright ban. Only 20% thought smoking should be prohibited in every pub.

The ONS figures showed 92% of people want smoking restrictions in places where there are, or are likely to be, children under 16. Just over half (51%) thought pubs should be mainly non-smoking, with smoking only allowed in designated areas. Almost a fifth (19%) thought the premises should be mainly smoking with a designated non-smoking area.

Source: Guardian (7 July 2004)


BRMB | September 2003

Only 17% support pub smoking ban

AN independent survey carried out by BMRB International for the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association (TMA) in September 2003 revealed that less than a fifth (17 per cent) of all adults agree that smoking should be banned in pubs, clubs and bars.

Most people (75 per cent) believe further improvements are needed but good ventilation is a more popular option (24 per cent) than banning smoking (17 per cent), increasing the number of non-smoking areas (16 per cent) or banning smoking at the bar to protect staff (4 per cent).

There was stronger support for smoking restrictions in restaurants than in pubs, but only a third felt it should be banned altogether (32 per cent) or where food is served (14 per cent).

The poll found that banning smoking in public places is low on most people's priorities compared with other quality of life issues such as controlling yobbish behaviour and prohibiting litter and graffiti. 

The research was carried out by BMRB International using its weekend telephone omnibus survey ACCESS. A total sample of 1929 interviews with adults aged 18+ living in Great Britain was achieved between 19-21 September 2003.

  Fact of Life

  Eleven million people
  have given up smoking
  in Britain, hardly the sign
  of a nation hopelessly
  addicted to nicotine.

  Burning Issue

  The passive smoking
  argument is important
  to anti-smokers because it
  creates a new category of
  victim. > more