Wetherspoon pub chains halt move to ban smoking

JD Wetherspoon has said it will delay making its pubs smoke-free until the smoking ban comes into force next year.

The pub chain announced at the start of 2005 that it would ban smoking in all its outlets by May 2006, over a year ahead of government legislation.

Wetherspoons marked the announcement in 2005 by designating 49 pubs across the UK as non-smoking.

However, new financial results show that revenues at its non-smoking pubs fell 7.6%, as the outlets sold less beer but more food.

“It is clear from our experience and from the evidence of other areas, such as Ireland, California and New York, that the initial effect of a smoking ban can result in sales and margin declines,” company chairman, Tim Martin, told the BBC.

“However, we believe that sales and margins can recover over time, once customers adjust to the non-smoking environment.”

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