Today is the one year anniversary of the smoking ban in England and Wales. The ban was the catalyst for my starting this blog, and I wrote a fair bit about it back in the early days. That I am not mentioning it often now is a sign that it has worked, and that the silly little rebels and their silly little campaigns have gone away. I went back to The Malt Shovel today, a year on, and as I supped thought about the ban and what it has meant for me personally.
Pubs are nicer places to be. It is so much more pleasurable being in a pub and knowing that the people who are going to grab that empty table next to you, won't be blowing their smoke in your direction; in your eyes; or over your food.
You can smell things. I like to smell my beer. Although aroma isn't the be all and end all, I do like to have a big sniff. Cigarette smoke used to get in the way.
Your clothes don't stink at the end of the night. Wearing a pair of jeans the next day after going to the pub is a newly found luxury. My wife's happier that her ironing pile is smaller these days.
Your hair doesn't smell. There's few things nastier than going to bed with smelly hair, or worse still with a partner with smelly hair.
There are of course downsides. Outside drinking area are now the smoking zone, so sitting outside with the family isn't as nice as it once was, and those pubs where the smoking zone is right outside the main entrance are a bloody nuisance. I've also heard it said that others smells are now more noticeable such as customers' body odour, but I've not picked up on that (or perhaps it's me who smells?).
All told then it's been a good thing. Pubs have shut, but good pubs have not shut. Inivative landlords who originally struggled have thought about and introduced things to make the customer come back. So many more countries have come on board, of course many preceded us. The Netherlands ban started today. Smoking really is on the wain ,and the ridiculous budget increase on beer should have gone towards a bigger hike in tobacco duty. Maybe next time.