Written by IainB
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Topics: Smoking Ban, Walking

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

image for New Anti-Smoking rules
Gotta keep moving, man

The UK Government is set to introduce the most stringent anti-smoking rules in Europe.

"Now that we have banned smoking inside public places we have seen an increase in the number of people stood around outside public places," said government Health minister, Simon Burns. "If anything, this is exposing more people to this dangerous habit."

New rules are to be brought into effect that will prohibit people from smoking while stood still. From the first of July smokers will have to keep moving while they smoke.

"Smokers will no longer be able to spend longer than five seconds in any square metre," said Burns. "This is to prevent them from merely walking in circles."

Health ministers believe this will have the dual purpose of stopping people from congregating in pub doorways and increase the amount of exercise smokers get, reducing the burden on the health service. Pub landlords are less than impressed.

"We've spent thirty quid on outside smoking areas," said Ashley Marlborough, proprietor of the Wagon and Horses in Guildford. "That's money up in smoke."

Some, more ingenious pub landlords are grouping together to produce walks between their establishments, and producing leaflets that indicate routes between pubs that are exactly one cigarette long. "It will be like a pub crawl," said Sue Perkin, hostess at the Slug and Lettuce in Windsor. "Obviously, we'd like to keep the customers in one place. This is a reciprocal arrangement though, and we'll be getting other customers from the pubs in the group. It should be beneficial, as people drink more on a pub crawl."

For pubs that are not surrounded by other pubs, circular paths are clearly posted that will take people from the front door, and back around to the pub. "Our route is quite scenic," said May Givout, proprietor of the UK's highest pub, the Eerie in Derbyshire. "It takes in part of the Pennine Way."

It remains to be seen how office workers will cope with the new rules.

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