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Byline: By STEVE TUCKER South Wales Echo

A cigarette and a pint? It's a basic human right, but maybe not for much longer. Steve Tucker reports.: A total ban on smoking in pubs is coming, so get used to it: that's the message from the man who opened Cardiff city centre's first totally smoke- free establishment. Steve Dew, co-owner of Dewi's, in Mary Ann Street, believes licensees having nothing to fear from a total ban if customers are provided with top service.

He estimates since banning smoking from his premises in January he has welcomed more than 250,000 customers and seen his food sales triple.

'There's no doubt the National Assembly is going for a total smoking ban in pubs and clubs in Wales,' said Steve.

'There will not even be a choice like England.

'But it need not affect business too badly if things are done right.

'You've got to provide the right entertainment and we offer people the chance to smoke outside at tables with heaters.

'The way society is moving people are glad to have the opportunity not to smoke, but if they desperately need that nicotine they will go outside.'

Steve believes there is a lot of hysteria surrounding the issue. He added: 'People and businesses will adapt to the ban, they will have to, you can't bury your head in the sand about it.'

Wales' biggest brewer Brains is also resigned to a total ban.

Like pub chain JD Wetherspoon, Brains is preparing for any legislation.

Brains already has four completely no-smoking pubs in South Wales, including the Cottage in St Mary Street in Cardiff city centre.

But Brains is urging the National Assembly to think about the timing of a smoking ban.

'We're not keen on an overnight total ban on smoking being introduced,' said Brains retail director, Philip Lay.

'We believe a time scale must be set out.

'People must feel they are engaged in the process, if they feel that there is likely to be approval.

'Measures like no smoking at the bar and separate smoking areas should be phased in over a period of perhaps 18 months ahead of any ban. 'We must at least give smokers the chance to prepare for what we all know is coming.': FROM PAGE 13: PUBLICANS' THREE-POINT PLAN:A thriving leisure and entertainment industry is vital to the economic wellbeing of Wales. So when almost 100 publicans are prepared to protest outside the National Assembly against a total smoking ban, one can assume the stakes are high.: MEDDLING POLITICIANS ANNOY ME:Thankfully i quit the evil weed in March last year after 20 years of smoking, writes Steve Tucker. And I'm talking a pack of Marlboro Red a day: real fags, not those ones which are good for you.

Do I feel healthier? Maybe. Do I feel richer? Certainly. Do I feel smoking should be banned in every pub in Wales? Er, no actually.

What's wrong with smoking sections with adequate ventilation or whole smoking pubs and no-smoking pubs, with potential staff warned the job is in a bar which allows smoking?

One assumes the real reason there are not more no-smoking pubs around at the moment is that there is just no demand for them. Finally, I oppose politicians meddling too much in our daily lives. It seems this whole no-smoking business in Wales is being forced through by the National Assembly just so they can say: 'Hey look everyone we are actually doing something.'
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 15, 2005
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