During 2006 and 2007, new legislation was introduced and all enclosed or substantially enclosed public places and work vehicles in Scotland, Wales and England became smoke-free.
This included pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, public transport, workplaces and the shared parts of residential properties. This legislation is designed to protect workers from second-hand smoke.
It means that you, your staff, customers and visitors are not allowed to smoke or possess lit substances, such as tobacco or herbs, within any premises that are wholly or substantially enclosed.
Your premises must remain smoke-free at all times, not just when you’re open to the public, and if you provide an outside area where customers can smoke it must be compliant with current legislation.
Permitting smoking in an enclosed or substantially enclosed public place could lead to a significant fine or other legal action being taken against you.
As of October 1st 2012, it is no longer a legal requirement to have all those unsightly no smoking signs plastered at every entrance to your pub, you are now obliged to have only one sign displayed on the premises.
Looking after your smokers
Smoking bans may encourage new custom from people who were previously put off by the smoky pub atmosphere, but will this gain really outweigh the loss that could be made from totally excluding smokers from pubs? A large amount of custom is likely to come from regular smokers or social smokers, who visit pubs to have a few drinks and a cigarette or two. There is also the possibility that non smoking customers may be accompanied by their smoking friends. You should try to keep everyone happy, and avoid losing trade by providing smokers with a sheltered area where they can go outside.
The addition of garden shelters can transform a pub garden, attracting customers all year round. A shelter can be used by smoking customers as somewhere to retreat with a drink, to enjoy with a cigarette whilst conveniently being sheltered and covered from the rain, strong winds and even the glare of the sun during hot summer days. Smokers do not have to feel as though they are being treated unfairly and pushed out into the cold.
A garden shelter offers a combination of sitting inside and outside giving customers the best of both worlds. People can gain that extra bit of privacy when sitting outside under a garden shelter as they are semi-enclosed within their own private space and also do not disturb other customers. The walls of the enclosure can also help to shield non smokers from cigarette smoke, creating a pleasant atmosphere and a pub that caters for everyone.
A well designed or quirky smoking shelter can be a huge talking point for your pub and attract custom from the curious. Think about making this essential trade area as comfortable as possible given the constraints of the regulations limiting their construction. Comfortable seating, lighting, heaters, speakers from you music system and even an outdoor plasma screen (well secured of course) will make the outside seem a little more like the inside of your pub.
Remember to keep it clean and tidy, the ashtrays and cigarette bins emptied and cleaned regularly, empty glasses collected as you would inside your pub and maintained. Nothing worse and no worse advertising than a dingy, smelly area and nothing will attract ne’er do wells than an uncared for shelter.
Top Tip, hanging baskets and plantings containing scented plants such as sweet peas, honeysuckle, lavender and herbs such as curry plant or rosemary will help keep the smell of stale tobacco at bay as well as providing a pleasant aspect for your customers to enjoy.