Twelve months ago, to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the smoking ban in Scotland, we commissioned a poll of 1,000+ adults living in Scotland.
One of the questions we asked was:
Do you think pubs and private members’ clubs, including working men's clubs, should or should not be allowed to provide a well-ventilated designated smoking room to accommodate smokers?
The response was clear:
Should be allowed 54%
Should not be allowed 40%
Don’t know 6%
Two weeks ago, to mark the tenth anniversary of the smoking ban in Wales which falls on Sunday April 2, we commissioned another poll.
We asked 1,000 people living in Wales exactly the same question and got a very similar response:
Should be allowed 58%
Should not be allowed 37%
Don’t know 5%
The poll is published today and Wales Online has the story here:
It's worth pointing out that Populus has now asked the same question no fewer than four times since 2015. Two of the four polls were UK-wide, the other two (as I've explained) were in Scotland and Wales.
Every time the response has been the same – a majority in favour of allowing pubs and clubs to provide a well-ventilated designated smoking room to accommodate smokers.
In June 2015 more than half (57%) of a representative sample of more than 2,000 people thought pubs and clubs should be allowed to provide a well-ventilated designated smoking room to accommodate smokers; 43% were opposed to the idea.
Twelve months later, in June 2016, the result was:
Should be allowed 59%
Should not be allowed 36%
Don’t know 5%
These polls are staggeringly consistent.
So when anti-smoking campaigners tell you how popular the smoking ban has been, with compliance rates in the region of 97 per cent, point out that compliance does not equal popularity.
ASH, naturally, has dismissed the poll, which is no surprise. After all, we're getting used to establishment figures discounting the views of ordinary people.