Smoking: The winners ... and the losers

The winners

Awning manufacturers

Shoving smokers out into the rain may be precisely what the foul-breathed lung-cloggers deserve, but some view it as a smidge tyrannical. Hence a new industry of awnings has evolved, allowing the crazy tobacco-heads to puff away happily without getting drenched. Garston-based firm Cigarette Bins UK, for example, offers an array of smoking canopies from £599, and a collection of natty outdoor cigarette bins to deter smokers from littering the pavement with their filthy cigarette butts.


"I believe the children are our future." The words of Whitney Houston, ladies and gentlemen, but also, I suspect, the belief of all of us. Yes, if there is going to be a winner in all this smoking ban hoo-ha, surely it will be them, the little children, safe in the knowledge that their lungs will now be tar-free and gleaming as they galavant from meadow to meadow. Too bad that they will be too obese to walk.

Pavement cafes

"Let's go outside," George Michael beseeched us in 1998, and almost a decade later we accept his invitation, but only because we can't smoke indoors. The new ban will allow smokers to light up at outside tables, and some expect this will lead to a proliferation of pavement cafes. In Blackburn, for example, where it normally costs £300 for a pavement seating licence, the council has said it will waive the charge this year, to soften the impact of the smoking ban and to encourage a continental cafe-style culture. Sales of Gauloises are also said to have risen in the area.

Patio heater companies

Even with the onward march of global warming, Britain is not yet the kind of tropical paradise where one can smoke outdoors wearing little more than a chemise as parakeets serenade you from the palm trees. Consequently, the patio heater business is growing as pubs hurry to install outdoor heating facilities in time for the ban: "There is an increase in the number of inquiries and business coming through," says a spokesman for Patio Heaters 4U.


For years, smoking has served not only as an efficient method of destroying one's lungs but also as a bar-room activity. Yes, lighting a cigarette has provided pub-goers with a time-occupying device as they await the arrival of their companions. But what to do now? The simple answer is snuff. Sales of snuff, which comes in a variety of flavours and is cheaper than cigarettes, are up in the UK, echoing the trend in Ireland and Sweden, where an increasingly young demographic has been taking up the habit. "Sales are extremely buoyant," confirms Ian McChrystal, managing director of Leicester-based snuff-maker McChrystal's. "Our market in the UK is usually people who are 40-plus, but in countries such as Switzerland and Ireland it has become popular among the young. There are even snuff clubs popping up." Note that it should only be sniffed from the left hand, otherwise you will look like some johnny-come-lately among the snuffing fraternity.

The anti-smoking industry

Victory at long last for the anti-smokers! Hurrah! And put out the bunting! Expect the pressure group Ash and the composers of government health warnings to tour London on an open-topped bus on July 1, waving to the cheering crowds below. And what joy too for the Allen Carr empire and the folks over at Nicorette as an entire nation attempts to smother its cravings for nicotine!

Secret underground smoking dens

In our new-fangled big brother society with its CCTV, fingerprinting and DNA databases, there is a fundamental want of secrecy. Under the new law, smoking clubs are also illegal. Nevertheless the cigarette ban will doubtless spawn all manner of secret drinking establishments, where punters may enjoy a smoke with their moonshine. In California, where a smoking ban is already in effect, some are heralding this as the "New Prohibition" era, with many bars employing devious tactics to ensure their patrons may continue to smoke: lookouts, phone trees to warn of imminent police busts and hidden smoking rooms among them.

The losers

Dry cleaners

For many, the joy of waking up after a night on the tiles and finding that their clothes do not reek of stale cigarette smoke will be a new and exciting experience. For the dry-cleaning industry, however, it is a kick in the shins. "Probably we'll have fewer items coming in to be freshened up," agrees Julian Stone of the American Dry Cleaning Company. "We haven't really thought about it, but we're not too worried. I don't think smoke is usually the trigger for people to have clothes dry-cleaned. It's mainly stain-driven."

Jazz clubs

The concept of a smoke-free jazz bar is decidedly unsettling. Not so, says says Leo Green, artistic director of Ronnie Scott's, which has been smoke-free since last summer. "Maybe smoking and jazz went together in the 50s, when they didn't know it would kill you, but now ... Most of the acts said 'thank God' when we stopped smoking in the club." We haven't felt this bad since the local goth pub claimed snakebite was illegal.

Drinking establishments

The fear is that people will stock up on ales to drink at home where they can smoke as much as they please. However, the Wetherspoon chain claims not to be even faintly worried. "Sales have risen in Scotland since the ban there," says a spokesman. "I think people are eating more, and a lot of people who liked the idea of going to pubs had fallen out of the habit as they were too smoky. Plus those customers who smoked have coped with it." Wetherpsoons already has no-smoking zones, smoke-free pubs and outdoor areas for smokers. Other pubs and bars will be less prepared, and adapting may take some time.


Keeping Britain tidy is a tough job at the best of times, but after July 1 it will surely be a task akin to cleaning up after one of those new-fangled MySpace parties. Keep Britain Tidy is already balking at the prospect: "We are concerned that once the smoking ban is in force, the areas outside restaurants, pubs, clubs and offices will be awash with cigarette ends." Accordingly, the organisation will be launching a campaign encouraging smokers to dispose of their cigarette paraphernalia responsibly. Hmmm. These people don't even respect their own lungs. Why would they care about a pavement?

The anti-smoking industry

Come July 2, when all the celebratiins are over, who could blame the anti-smoking brigade as they turn to each other with a rising sense of panic and ask, "What now?" For years they have dedicated themselves to stamping out cigarettes, to weaning addicts off nicotine with gum and hypnosis and plasters. What on earth will they do now that the battle is won? But there is a small twinkling of hope - there are after all, so many more battles to be waged: crack cocaine, school dinners, the plight of the red squirrel; all of them valuable causes, just waiting for a government campaign and the establishment of a multi-million-pound industry around them · Additional research by Julie Ferry

Cigarette vending machine companies

"We've been running for 12 years, but it could wipe us out," says Lorraine Neophytou of Autovend Ltd, a small London company that supplies cigarette machines to pubs and nightclubs. So far, none of the venues has asked Autovend to remove its machines, but the company worries especially about West End nightclubs where customers will not be allowed to pop out for a cigarette. "I drive around London and I see people standing outside offices and bars and I think this is what it's going to be like," adds Neophytou. "It's going to be even more unsightly."

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