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Editor,—The introduction of non-smoking areas into public places is one of the key recommendations of the white paper “Smoking Kills”.1 However, despite the findings of surveys conducted within the USA and Australia which have shown no adverse economic impact on restaurants after smoking restrictions were implemented,2-5 pro-tobacco groups have asserted that the introduction of non-smoking areas in public houses (pubs) is commercially untenable and unpopular with customers.
Eleven pubs in Staffordshire, England volunteered to establish non-smoking areas for at least 2–3 months during which the effect on trade would be monitored, and a survey undertaken of customer perceptions. Between 6–12 weeks after implementation, the pubs were visited and a questionnaire distributed to all customers. The questionnaire requested brief demographic details and customers' views on the non-smoking areas. Information on sales at each pub were requested from landlords, and income before the intervention compared with that in the following months.
One pub dropped out after a few weeks claiming the policy unpopular …
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