Posted: Friday, 15 May 2009 @ 10:08
Licensee Kerry Fenton clearly grabbed the headlines with her bid to boost customers by getting round the smoking ban, but was she right?
She established a designated room in her pub and claimed it was for smoking research. Customers who smoked there were required to fill out a questionnaire on their smoking habits. She had been advised that this was a loophole in the law and would allow smoking in the designated room.
The regulations provide that a designated room in a research or testing facility is not a smoke free room when it is being used for research or tests specified in the regulations. The research or tests allowed are those that relate to emissions from tobacco and other smoking products, development for smoking products with lower fire hazards, fire safety testing of materials involving products for smoking, development of smoking products which are less dangerous, and stop smoking programmes.
Apart from the difficulty of establishing that the room is a research or testing facility, filling out a questionnaire on smoking habits does not in my opinion qualify as one of the allowed research or testing procedures. I expect that anyone chancing this will find themselves in court for breaking the law, and it could result in the loss of their Personal Licence and their Premises Licence being called into a review hearing.
Although times are hard I would strongly advise against trying to get round the smoking ban. It is here to stay. You might get a lot of publicity from your stunt but many have found it quickly turns to disaster with the loss of their jobs and a criminal record.
Licensing Law Specialist
» Categories: Licensing
Blog by Nigel Musgrove
Nigel has been providing dispute resolution advice as a solicitor for over 35 years. As well as advising SMEs and business owners on disputes he also offers a specialist licensing law service. View profile
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