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Most Scots back cig ban -- Sunday Mail poll.

Byline: By LINDSAY McGARVIE

SIX out of 10 people want a smoking ban to be introduced in pubs, an exclusive Sunday Mail phone poll has revealed.

Our smoking line was jammed with callers between last Sunday and Wednesday. Sixty per cent said they wanted smoking stubbed out in our pubs.

The results come as First Minister Jack McConnell and deputy health minister Tom McCabe head to Dublin tomorrow to investigate the Irish ban on pub smoking.

Last night McCabe said: 'It is encouraging to see such a good response to a survey of this nature. It shows that the health messages on smoking are starting to get across.'

During their fact-finding trip, McCabe and McConnell want to learn the true impact of the ban on the hospitality trade and on health.

The licensed trade in Ireland warned that turnover would drop by 20 to 25 per cent and 30,000 jobs would be lost as a consequence of the ban which came in at the end of March. But a recent report from the Irish Central Statistics Office revealed that from March to May bar sales went down just 1.3 per cent compared with last December to February.

One of the major Irish drinks companies, C&C, reported it had suffered only a two per cent drop in sales since the ban was introduced.

The company say smoke-free bars are just one factor in that drop.

The Irish Office of Tobacco Control say 97 per cent of bars are complying with the ban and there has only been one prosecution, in Galway. But Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, claimed the poll results fly in the face of the public's opinion on a smoking ban in pubs and clubs.

Waterson, proprietor of the Bruce Hotel, East Kilbride, and the Golden Lion, Stirling, said: 'All the polls we've conducted said the vast majority of people don't want a smoking ban in pubs and, of course, we're out to consultation at the moment on it.

'Our membership have no doubt a ban would devastate business - the same way it has in Ireland.'

CAPTION(S):

Ban it: Stub out pub smoke
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 29, 2004
Words:363
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