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Smoking ban hits Scottish pubs

Six months after a ban on smoking in public places was implemented, the Scottish on-trade is reporting a substantial impact. Figures released by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) yesterday indicated that drink sales had decreased by more than 10% and food sales were down almost 3% at a selection of premises. Paul Waterson, SLTA chief executive, explains: "Our members have done an excellent job enforcing the ban, and many are now paying for it with their livelihoods. Many operations have been hit and some are suffering serious downturns in business."

The report is based on a survey of 365 licensees, and focuses on the first three months after the ban was implemented. Restaurants have registered a slight upturn in sales, but the pub sector has been hit hard. Notably, many pubs have reported more "trialists" coming in for the first time, but almost half say that regulars are visiting less frequently and staying for a shorter period of time.

Many premises have opened outdoor facilities to give patrons the opportunity to smoke while they drink. However, says Waterson: "Our members are very concerned because these results have come in the summer. We are anxious about what is going to happen in the next few months as the weather gets worse and people choose to smoke and drink at home more".

© db 24th August 2006

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