One in 10 hospitality workers has suffered violence or verbal abuse from customers flouting the smoking ban, research has revealed.
The survey of more than 5,000 hospitality workers, by hospitality recruitment website Caterer.com, revealed shocking testimonials from workers who reported being hit, spat at, strangled and sexually abused.
The survey included responses from all areas of the hospitality industry, including chefs, restaurant managers, hotel managers and waiting staff across the UK.
It found that more than 40% of respondents reported asking customers to stop smoking after the ban came into effect – and many have suffered abuse as a result.
One worker said: “When I told him to put his cigarette out, he pulled down his pants and started masturbating in front of me.”
Another added: “I was told by a female customer that she’d make a sexual complaint against me if she was not allowed to smoke.”
A third said: “I asked a young man to stop smoking and he told me to **** off. When I asked him to leave, he refused and threw punches as I tried to eject him.”
In spite of the threat of violence, nearly 80% of hospitality staff said they were happier at work now smoking had been banned and a similar amount (79%) said they felt healthier.