Pub launches ban on smokers

By Lisa CleverdonSTUB out or stay out is the message to customers tempted to light up in a pub as it joined the ranks of non-smoking premises in East Anglia.

By Lisa Cleverdon

STUB out or stay out is the message to customers tempted to light up in a pub as it joined the ranks of non-smoking premises in East Anglia.

Staff at the Rushbrooke Arms in Sicklesmere, near Bury St Edmunds, have cleaned their final ashtray after the decision was taken to ban smoking on the premises.

As well as becoming the latest pub in the region to introduce a non-smoking policy, it is the first venue in East Anglia to be presented with the National Clean Air Award for implementing this practice.

Tracey Platt, who has managed the Rushbrooke Arms for the past 18 months, said the decision to ban smoking was made after many customers said they supported it.

“We have to take care of the majority rather than the minority, and most people these days do not smoke,” she added.

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“We have always been a family-orientated pub and we wanted to offer our customers the chance to eat and drink in a smoke-free atmosphere.

“We have had a lot of positive feedback from people so far and we are not worried about it putting people off - in fact, we believe it will have the opposite effect and attract more people to the pub.”

The decision to create a tobacco-free environment at the Rushbrooke Arms was backed by customers enjoying a drink yesterday after it reopened following a £300,000 refurbishment.

Carol and Ron Humphreys welcomed the decision and said they would make a point of returning to the Rushbrooke Arms because of the smoking ban.

“We do not have a problem with people smoking as long as it does not affect us and I think it is nice for those who do not want to sit in a smoky pub to have the choice,” said Mr Humphreys.

“We have often walked out of pubs in the past because they have been too smoky for us, especially if we are trying to enjoy a meal, and it is just nice to be able to relax without people smoking next to you.”

His wife added: “We would definitely come back here and I think more pubs should do the same.”

Non-smokers Victoria McDonagh and Bill Suckling, both from Bury St Edmunds, said a smoke-free pub would not put them off, but admitted it might if they were with friends who smoked.

“I think it depends on what your circumstances are,” said Miss McDonagh. “If you are with children, then it is nice to go somewhere where no-one is smoking.

“But if you are having a night out with friends, then I think it is natural for people to have a cigarette if they want one.”

Mr Suckling added: “I am fully in support of pubs that want to ban smoking and I think that people are starting to think more carefully about when and where they smoke.

“But I also think it is a personal choice whether someone wishes to smoke or not.”

The Reindeer pub in Saxon Street, near Newmarket, has also gone completely smoke-free.

Pub landlords, Joanna and Jay Wallace, decided to ban tobacco after discussing the move with their regulars, who were in favour of the move. “With the changes in legislation in Ireland, we thought it would not be long before a ban comes in here,” said Mrs Wallace.

“It is also a lifestyle thing - we're both non-smokers and we have young children. It is our family home as well as a food-led pub and people don't want that smoke while they are eating.”

The Angel in Lavenham banished smokers to the garden when it introduced a smoking ban from January 1.

Ex-smoker Roy Whitworth, who manages the Angel with John Barry, said: “We have seen some people we haven't seen before and I don't really think we have lost many customers.

“It's much more pleasant for staff and our regulars still come in and play dominoes. There are people around who enjoy a cigarette and a pint, and if they want to go somewhere else and smoke, then that is up to them.”

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