How to bring back smoking in pubs?

Shant and a smokeAn article in the register the other day has given me an idea as to how one might bring back smoking in pubs without any need for a change in the law.

The article reports that an American bar has gone self service by use of RFID cards (contactless payment cards) and flow control pumps. So tap the pump with your card and it will let you dispense so much beer. Now sadly this won’t work for real ale but what I can’t help but wondering is this.

If no one is in the pub working because it’s entirely self service, then it’s not someone’s place of employment so surely they’d be nothing to stop people smoking there. The barrels etc. could be in a separate building so that wouldn’t be a problem, if the pub wanted to use it’s own cards then they could sell them and top them up in a separate building as well.

So the only person who’d ever need to work in the pub would be who ever cleans the place up, which would be done when it was shut and no one was smoking there, so again surely not a problem?

Of course the legislation does cover “all public places” which could be a snag but if it were a private club? It wouldn’t fall under the auspices of people working there, it’d be interesting to argue that you’re “seeking or receiving goods or services from the person or persons working there” as no one works there.

It would sadly be prohibitively expensive to test just how farcical this law is. I suspect ASH would probably claim that the 60 a day cleaner was still at risk of second hand smoke.

Of course it’s worth noting that:
“The appropriate national authority may make regulations providing for specified descriptions of premises, or specified areas of them, not to be smoke-free despite section 2.”
So under current laws it would actually be trivial to allow smoking in all sorts of places without any need to change anything at all.

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5 Responses to How to bring back smoking in pubs?

  1. David says:

    Why can’t freehold pubs just become private clubs – surely that would be far easier and cheaper than installing
    new equipment? Plus, the camaraderie with the landlord and bar staff is part of the atmosphere – the host dishing out hearty ales and chatting over a pint.

    I’ve recently been on holiday in England where a privcate club – with smoking – was present in a small coastal village. It can be done.

    • Giolla says:


      not sure how that club got away with it, as for most clubs even private members clubs get caught out by:
      “Premises are smoke-free if they are used as a place of work”

      So the loopholes seem to be:
      1) Only have one person working there
      2) don’t employ anyone at all, so volunteers or the high tech route as I wrote about.

      I suspect that volunteers might still be claimed to be working, but it’d be interesting though costly to see how they’d deal with it. Either approach if prosecuted would rather highlight how much of an ass the law is.

  2. Pandora Piquet says:

    We have a very mixed up way of things these days, you can’t smoke in a pub, you cant drink on the street. (not all pubs have beer gardens & even some that do can’t allow smoking in them) We’re told not to leave drinks unattended in case they get spiked. You are left with the dilemma of finishing your drink or leaving it but buying a fresh one when you get back inside, so basically if you want to smoke & drink you have to do them in shifts. Surely this just makes for a very expensive & disorientated time of it, if you’re out with friends you miss half of the conversation while you have a smoke.
    As a non smoker I’ve often gone outside with my smoking friends, mostly because they are my friends & I enjoy their company & why would I want to sit inside when I’d gone for a night/day out with my friends?

    • Giolla says:

      Pandora, as other people have commented and I will wade in on in a bit we’re dealing with the new puritans they don’t want us to either drink or smoke so it’s designed to make both activities as difficult as possible.

      Plus one can’t help but suspect that they don’t really like people getting together to talk – do have to wonder how much the demise of the community pub can also be linked to the demise of community values etc.

      • Pandora Piquet says:

        They do want us to drink & smoke because of all the tax we pay to do so. They just want to seem like they don’t want us to, if we could all just be good little boys & girls & do these horrid nasty hateful things in a little hole somewhere (first making sure there’s no one else around who can be affected by it) or even better if we could just buy the products (hence paying the tax) & just never use them then even better. They also want to seem like they “care” so now we sit here & watch as more & more laws are passed taking away our freedoms & our abilities & the polititions tell us it’s for our own good, just seems to be “Nanny State” to me.
        I’m sure they would prefer if we the public didn’t get together & talk, lets face it there’s a chance we might actually think for ourselves & compare notes when we do that.