[tag]Hamish Howitt[/tag] of the [tag]Happy Scots Bar[/tag] in Blackpool has been served seven separate summonses for failing to maintain a smoke-free pub.
Mr Howitt is due to appear before [tag]Blackpool[/tag] Magistrates’ Court on the 1st August. He has been against the ban as he considers it a breach of human rights, and refuses to “Shove his customers outside in the wind and the rain to allow them their right to smoke.”
He said: “I don’t incite smoking in my pub as our karaoke bar next-door is completely non-smoking. I’m not pro-smoking just pro-freedom. Having a pint and a cigarette in a pub is one of the last great enjoyments left for the working classes.”
I do not smoke, but I find it ridiculous paying customers should be pushed out onto the pavement to smoke when they are enjoying a drink in a pub.
I remember the days when a pub was an establishment where adult people went to indulge in compulsive behaviors along with other adult people also indulging in compulsive behaviors, and nobody interfered or batted an eyelid. It was left to the discretion of the landlord to decide how far his patron’s excesses should go, and customers would chose a favourite drinking hole accordingly.
You did not have to worry about the effect you may have on a young inquisitive mind as rightly so, children were not permitted. (I am sure I am not the only one who remembers being given a coke and a bag of crisps to pass the time between fighting with your siblings whilst waiting in the car?)
Pub customers did not have to consider offending non-drinking, non-smoking persons, as they were at home enjoying a film and a cup of tea, or in the coffee shop down the road.
These days we are expected to drink our beer whilst listening to the cries and shouts of toddlers playing under the table; we have to tread carefully to avoid scrunching their sweets into the carpet, and tolerate them knocking us flying when we are laden with drinks after a trip to the bar.
We have to mind our Ps and Qs, and even our Bs and Fs, for fear of insulting the family group on the neighbouring table.
A pub is a pub, pubs thrive and always have done on working class men and women who see a few pints and cigarettes as a reward after a hard day’s graft. Pubs do not make a living from the anti-smoking family who visit once a week to drink half a shandy, an orange juice and three cokes for the kids. Families and non drinking/smoking persons have a multitude of entertainment choices, why invade pubs?
This is akin to horse racing fans being told that although they can continue spending their money to enter a race track, while they are there they are not to bet as it is strictly forbidden- as it could upset non-gambling horse racing fans. Absurd.
Why should smokers be made to stand outside to indulge their habit because somebody in London says so? (Inncidently the very same body who worked so hard to get them hooked on tobacco to begin with).
Here in Catalonia, [tag]Spain[/tag], the ‘Generalitat’ (local parliament) had a far better idea in an attempt to curb smoking.
Bar and pub owners are given a choice, a business can become ‘Smoking’ or ‘Non-Smoking’, it is entirely up to the owner or manager of the premises. A plaque is provided which must be displayed on the entrance which indicates if clients are welcome to smoke inside. If a premises is over a certain size, a part may be sectioned off for smokers, therefore ensuring both groups are catered for.
Smokers and non-smokers are then able to make decisions where to drink accordingly.
Although I fear he is fighting a losing battle against the non-smoking, non-freedom-of-choice bigots, I wish Mr. Howitt the best of luck.
Below is a video taken from Hamish’s Website
(Video contains swearing).