The smoker advocacy group Forest has condemned a plan to ban outdoor smoking at U.K. pubs and cafes amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
A group of lawmakers wants the government to require smoking to be banned if the businesses want licenses to serve pavement drinks.
“This is gross opportunism by a small group of anti-smoking peers who have spotted a chance to advance their extreme anti-smoking agenda,” said Simon Clark, director of Forest.
“There is no evidence that smoking in the open air is a threat to public health, so this is a matter for individual businesses not government or local authorities. In the wake of lockdown, pubs, restaurants and cafes already face huge challenges. This is the worst possible time to add to their burden by imposing further regulations that could discourage a lot of smokers from returning.”
Forest is urging the hospitality industry to fight the ban.
“The smoking ban had a huge impact on the pub sector and was a significant factor in thousands of pubs closing after it was introduced in 2007,” Clark said.