Memorandum by Business In Sport and Leisure
Limited (SP 46)
Business In Sport and Leisure is an umbrella
organisation that represents over 100 private sector companies
in the sport and leisure industry. Its members include most of
the major operators of commercial sport and leisure in the UK
and many consultants who specialise in this field. The value of
members of BISL is in excess of £40 billion. BISL works through
five working groups which cover sport, liquor licensing; gambling;
employment; and planning and property. The BISL Handbook; "the
Active Annual" which gives details of our activities and
lists our member companies is available on request.
In summary BISL believes that a total ban on
smoking in public places should be a long term aim without exemptions.
Additional time should be offered to all licensed premises before
a complete ban is enforced. This should be not before 2010.
The following points utilise the terms of the
Department of Health Consultation On The Smokefree Elements of
the Health Improvement and Protection Bill in detailing the BISL
(2) The definition of "enclosed"
BISL supports the definition of an enclosed
public place or workplace, but also supports the comments of the
British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) on the greater flexibility
offered by the Irish approach. It is important for the leisure
and hospitality industry that outdoor space, which is partially
covered, will be available for those who need a smoking break.
(3) Other public Places
It would seem sensible and fair for order making
powers to allow the legislation to apply to other premises, but
the regulations should be as simple as possible and not require
any lines to be drawn on the ground around building exits.
(4) Longer lead in for Licensed Premises
The Health White Paper and "Delivering
Choosing Health" made it clear that the Department of Health
would be investing heavily in a smoking cessation campaign using
public advertisements and local initiatives. BISL believes that
it is vital that this campaign is evaluated and provides real
evidence of success in reducing the number of people who smoke,
before smoking is banned in all licensed premises.
Although 25% of the population smoke, this rises
to 46% in pubs and 60% in bingo clubs. There is a real danger
that businesses, particularly in marginal and rural areas, will
fail if a smoking ban is implemented too quickly. BISL believes
that the legislation for all licensed premises should not be implemented
until April 2010 at the earliest, to allow smoking cessation policies
BISL believes that the hospitality industry
should be allowed to gain an exemption by providing separate rooms
for smokers and non smokers. This should apply to all premises
which have a liquor licence. We would be prepared for this exemption
to be time limited to help with phasing.
There are a range of interim measures which
could be introduced including separate rooms or separate areas,
no smoking at the bar, employees able to choose where they work
or allowing smoking in parts of a premises where no staff are
required to be present.
BISL does not believe that the exemption offered
for premises which do not sell food is either desirable, or workable.
If this exemption is to be continued, all premises which do not
serve food and have a liquor licence should be included, not just
(6) Residential Premises
BISL is content with the list shown, but supports
the views of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) on hotel
(7) Exemption for Clubs
BISL represents a number of proprietary owned
members clubs. These include snooker clubs, casinos, bingo clubs
and sport and recreation clubs which are owed by corporate companies.
None of these clubs would be included in the definition provided
and yet these are the premises which are most likely to be affected
the most in terms of viability by a ban on smoking.
BISL notes the principle of an exemption for
clubs such as the Royal British Legion, but it seems incompatible
with a healthy lifestyle for sports clubs to be offered such an
exemption and in fact for any club if the Government is genuinely
seeking to help the community to reduce its smoking habit. If
one prime purpose of this Bill is also to protect the workforce,
these provisions only provide for the protection of employees
in commercial premises and not in clubs. This hardly fits in with
the objectives of the Bill. Arguments put forward about choice
for employees as to which premises they chose to work in are likely
to lead to claims for discrimination.
In any event our overriding objection to this
exemption is that it would lead to migration. This is particularly
true outside London and many other major cities where private
clubs are significant players in the night time economy. In such
places all the evidence from overseas shows that smokers just
migrate from a place where they can no longer smoke ie commercial
premises to places where they can smoke ie clubs.
In summary, BISL does not believe that any exceptions
should be provided for clubs. If this exemption is to be continued
it must be for all clubs where members can vote on the issue.
(8) Practical Implications
The practical implications for all businesses
will be the effect on customers. This effect will be more marked
in premises where customers traditionally spend a long time eg
pub, restaurant, casino, bingo club or betting shop.
The consultation suggests that "No Smoking"
signs should be displayed in all premises (where applicable) and
that operators may be prosecuted for not displaying such signs.
BISL believes that the requirement to have "No Smoking"
signs should at worst be time limited with a "sunset clause"
which lasts for perhaps two or three years, but in reality a presumption
against smoking in public places should remove any need for these
signs apart from "smoking permitted" in exempt areas.
You do not put "Don't rob this bank" on the entrance
to all banks. Why should it be necessary for all premises to say
Alternatively, BISL would support the view of
the BBPA which requires signage only where smoking is permitted.
BISL has a concern that if an operator was prosecuted their liquor
licence could also become invalid and this would have serious
consequences for individual businesses.
On a practical note, there is a need to have
a definition of "an entrance". Is this a notice on the
door, or merely close to the door?
(10) Offences and Penalties
BISL believes that these are the right offences
BISL believes it is very necessary to give businesses
an opportunity to defend their actions when, either they could
not know someone was smoking, or a request to stop smoking is
BISL does have concerns that fines could be
imposed on individual members of staff. £200 may not be much
to an operator, but it is a lot for a part time cashier. Particularly
where no witnesses are present, it may be difficult to prove whether
the individual did give a warning to a customer to stop smoking
or not. It may be fairer to require the company to provide training
for employees and then impose the fine on the company and not
BISL notes the role to be played by local authority
enforcement officers, but would reiterate the need for clear central
direction and consistency across local authorities throughout
the country. We support the views of the BBPA and British Hospitality
(13) Smoking at the Bar
BISL believes that the voluntary work undertaken
by the British Beer and Pub Association and other leisure outlets
to prevent smoking at the bar should be extended. This is obviously
irrelevant if smoking was banned in all hospitality venues.
(14) Time Table
The consultation paper asks whether the end
of the year is the most suitable time to bring in a smoking ban.
BISL believes that April would be a better time as this is a month
at the beginning of the summer season when days become longer
and it is therefore more acceptable for customers to smoke outside.
BISL believes that it will be difficult to achieve
smoke free premises by the end of 2007. BISL believes that all
premises should be smoke free by the end of 2008 and that all
licensed premises should be smoke free by April 2010.
(15) Unintended consequences for binge-drinking
The hospitality industry has spent many years
becoming more family friendly, offering facilities more attractive
to women and becoming food led. Whilst concerns exist about binge
drinking and vertical drinking, it would seem a complete contradiction
to offer all operators who only serve alcohol, an exemption. Whilst
snacks may be the only food permitted in such premises the vision
of hamburger vans outside premises would seem just the beginning
of a number of visionary loopholes which are likely to be offered
by licensed premises. This would make it difficult to police and
possibly unworkable in practice.
As with other exemptions offered, evidence from
abroad suggests that where one premises offers smoking and another
does not, customers migrate to the smoking premises and the non-smoking
premises is left without customers and is likely over time to
be forced to close. As already outlined, BISL does not believe
that separation of smokers and a non smokers by serving food is
practical or desirable.
(16) General Points
BISL is in favour of modern legislation which
puts fundamental principles in the Act itself and leaves all other
details to regulations which can then be changed. It is however,
essential that these regulations are available before the Bill
enters its Committee stage. Otherwise businesses will accuse Government
of passing legislation without its full effect being debated in
Parliament or agreed by all parties.
It should be noted that all leisure venues can
play a powerful role in educating and taking customers with them
on the road to non-smoking. This point has been made by BISL verbally
in many of the workshops we attended during the consultation on
"Choosing Health". It requires further discussion with
the Department of Health.
BISL believes that a total ban on smoking in
public places should be a long term aim without exemptions. Additional
time should be offered to all licensed premises before a complete
ban is enforced. This should be not before 2010.