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Nicotine Nannies claim smoking bans are good for business. But if that were the case, could this list exist, and could it be so huge? (Please note, this is only a small sample of articles available on the subject.)

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Another pub chain falls victim to the ban on smoking

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

The Laurel Pub Company, owner of some of the country’s best-known high street bar brands, has collapsed. The development comes as breweries and pub chains blame the ban for encouraging smokers to stay at home rather than visit their local.

Some 388 pubs were placed in administration this week, though a rescue deal orchestrated by the company’s colourful owner, the Iranian property investor Robert Tchenguiz, will ensure the brands survive.

According to the British Beer and Pubs Association, the smoking ban in England and Wales combined with the credit crunch and a decline in drinking are responsible for closing pubs at their fastest rate in history – 27 a week.

The Massive Pub Company, which owned the Tup chain of pubs in London and the Sports Café chain, have both been placed in administration, while Regents Inns, owner of the Walkabout chain, has been forced into the sale of 94 bars.

In the past two months, Marstons, Greene King, Fuller, Smith and Turner and Wetherspoons have all announced their profits have been hit by the ban on smoking in public.

The Government outlawed lighting up in restaurants, bars and other public spaces on 1 July last year.

Publicans installed awnings and patio heaters to encourage smokers to go to the pub. However, commentators say that has failed to prevent the ban hitting the £15bn-a-year industry, with traditional “wet-led” local pubs the worst affected. Mark Brumby, a drinks analyst with Blue Oar Securities, estimated that the smoking ban had cost between 3 and 4 per cent of sales – or about £600m.

The collapse of the Laurel Pub Chain on Thursday indicated the impact of the smoking ban was spreading to suburban locations.

According to The Publican, the remaining 90 loss-making pubs in administration – five Slug and Lettuce, 11 Ha Ha, 40 Yates and seven Litten Tree – owe £8.6m in unpaid rent.

The pubs have now, in effect, been cut adrift from Mr Tchenguiz’s empire, with the expected loss of about 800 jobs.

Source: The Independent. Link

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