A SEVEN STAR SMOKING
|Smokers may be on borrowed
In a quiet South West village the
local pub is trying a contentious experiment.
A ban on smoking. What are the odds of it working? Inside Out finds
they are slim.
The Seven Stars pub is a well known watering hole in Penryn,
Cornwall and it recently dared to defy all known laws of averages.
It introduced, just for one night, a ban on smoking. But with little success.
After threats of a mass walkout, the publican, Rob Brinkhof, eventually
gave up at the first hurdle - after just over one hour.
|Was the experiment dead before
But if the Seven Stars pub experiment in Penryn was to
take hold, and the American style "no smoking bars" came to
the South West and elsewhere in the country, it could save thousands of
And it's not just the drinkers lives we are talking about. The bar staff
are there inhaling the acrid smoke every minute the bar is open.
But one Seven Stars drinker, Dave Walker, says, "Why ban smoking?
This is a place of recreation and my recreation is smoking and drinking.
"If they want to work in such a place, they should wear a respirator
or breathing apparatus."
Over 120,000 smokers die every year of smoking-related
diseases such as lung cancer and heart attacks in the UK, six times the
number killed in road accidents.
According to the World Health Organisation, one
out of every two long-term smokers will be killed by tobacco.
|High-profile campaigns have highlighted access issues
From 1985-2000, tobacco has killed more than 60 million
people in the developed countries alone, more than died in World War Two.
The move to reduce that number by the Seven Stars pub
was a bold if not futile gesture.
But there are some places that have notched up success with the ban in
In August 2003, Pizza Hut became the first major
UK restaurant chain to ban smoking in all its eating places.
Its goal in snuffing out smoking was to protect its customers
and staff from the dangers of passive smoking.
However, while there have been a few isolated successes
around the country, the place to look for a lead is America.
California was one of the first places to introduce
a no smoking policy five years ago. Other American states like Delaware
and Maryland have followed.
In March 2003, New York's Mayor introduced a controversial
smoking ban in the city's 20,000 bars, clubs and restaurants.
|Aaron Crocket's NY bar copes with
This was despite resistance from bar proprietors and
the city's 1.3 million smokers.
the City of New York's
letter to businesses giving details of the smoking ban.
Bars that flout the ban in the big apple are liable to
fines of $400.
Inside Out travelled to New York to investigate whether the smoking ban
was having the desired effect in cutting smoking.
The Big Smoke
Reaction to the smoking ban in New York has been mixed.
Some businesses claim that trade is down and that smokers are deserting
bars in droves.
But one bar the team visited seemed to be living comfortably with the
Manager of Irish Bar - Scruffy Duffy's, Aaron Crocket, says, "Ireland's
changing over this year, I don't know if it's as strict as it's here in
New York, but people adjust.
|Dave Walker found a way to smoke
"There're a couple of weeks where people will moan
about it - you get used to it - and you can still smoke outside, still
smoke at home - but I believe it's better for everyone."
Others say that that the effect on businesses has been
minimal although smokers are now going out onto the streets to burn the
There is of course a danger of noise in residential areas
and resulting complaints about the growing heaps of cigarette butts outside
It's probably too soon to assess the full impact of the
ban in New York particularly on businesses.
But in California, where the ban has been in place much
longer, there's evidence that bar sales haven't been affected.
Seventy three per cent of Californians now support the
ban as opposed to 65% when it was first introduced. So could the Seven
Stars experience be misleading?
There are only about two dozen pubs in the UK that are currently smoke
free, and the nearest one to Penryn is in Gloucestershire.
Rob Brinkhof's experiment
floundered on the ashtrays of the bar after a short time, but as smokers
are becoming more and more marginalised, it may just be a matter of time.