10 Years Ago Today – Before The Smoking Ban

I took this short video clip on June 30th 2007, in the pub I lived a few doors down from, the Chequers in the South Cambridgeshire village of Orwell. It shows one of the locals and the publican at the time, smoking inside the pub on the last day before the smoking ban in England came into force, making it illegal to smoke in all enclosed work places.

The Chequers, licensed since 1815 and the last of several pubs in the village, survived the smoking ban. In 2012 the pub was put up for sale by Punch Taverns for £500k, an asking price suited to its current status as a highly-rated gastro pub, and is now in new hands. I moved back into Cambridge shortly after this video was taken, and haven’t yet been back to the village, but have often wondered what effect the ban had on Pete, the elderly local in the video; whether he continued drinking there, standing outside when he wanted a smoke, or if he started drinking from home where he could choose whether to smoke indoors. Perhaps he even gave up smoking, though that seems least likely, and in any case I doubt much thought was given to the effect on people like Pete, as the primary aim of the legislation was angled as protecting employees from second-hand smoke. In that regard, it seems inevitable beer gardens will be next in line for a ban, so if the likes of Pete did continue drinking in pubs, no doubt their enjoyment of a cigarette outside will soon be curtailed. So, while I appreciate ten years of not smelling of smoke after a visit to the pub, I doubt it’s something Pete would celebrate.


4 responses to “10 Years Ago Today – Before The Smoking Ban

  1. I stand by my view that the smoking ban has had very little negative impact on the pub trade – there are much deeper problems for pubs, society & the views of drinking have changed a lot. Coffee shops are booming and these also have a smoking ban….

    • I suspect the impact has been localised, e.g. working mens clubs with an older demographic are likely to have suffered whereas some pubs in young, affluent areas might have benefited. I think pubs and cafes are apples and pairs, but I see what you’re saying. No doubt the provision of a decent all-weather smoking shelter helps!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s