Wednesday, 25 July 2007

English Smoking ban likely to double Patio heater use

The Health Nazis seem to have accidentally shot their Green Brethren in the foot.

It seems that the use of patio heaters (the new 4X4 of the non wheeled domestic world) is set to double over the next year.

Why? The good old law of unintended consequences rearing it’s head again - that's why.

The pointless and unreasonable ban on smoking in English Pubs has meant that smokers must go outside to indulge. It seem that this in turn has led astute landlords to provide patio heaters to make the environment more pleasant for the smokers and thus retain business.

Philip Sellwood, of the (Government established and funded) Energy Saving Trust is complaining: "People are also influencing the larger, more damaging commercial sector, with a third of pub-goers choosing pubs where there is a patio heater.”

"Landlords are helping to make patio heaters desirable - which they are not."
, he bemoans.

A survey the trust conducted indicated 31% of people indicated they actually enjoyed sitting outside pubs and would choose one with outdoor heating by preference.

There is also the suggestion that, having discovered the joys of sitting outside having a drink and a ciggy, may be leading to increased sales of the heaters to the private market even amongst non smokers. The number of patio heaters in gardens in the UK is expected to almost double over the next year, a report by the trust suggests.

The largest take up is expected to be in the Yorkshire and Humberside areas. It is not clear if this is because there are more smokers there, it is a little colder in the evenings there, a combination, or some other factor.

Mr Sellwood is calling for “responsible retailers to reconsider the sale of patio heaters in light of the substantial amount of carbon emissions they produce." and the rest of us to wear an extra jumper.

What next? Extra tax on patio heaters, restrict the sale to ‘deserving’ key individuals in the political patrician classes?

Even the Mayor of London ‘Red’ Ken Livingstone is echoing him, betraying his authoritarian leanings and calling for a halt in the spread of "wasteful" patio heaters and urged retailers not to promote them.

How long before he considers forcing a licensing system on Londoners? Maybe one with a sliding scale of costs based on emissions? Though probably entirely unnecessarily, as the expected lowest rate of heater take up was in the East of England.

4 comments:

Lord Straf-Bollinger said...

...The pointless and unreasonable ban on smoking in English Pubs...

I've never heard anything so ridiculous as this ban.

Phil A said...

Absolutely. People don’t have to go to the pub. There would have been more smoke free pubs if there had been a demand for them.

No one is forced to work in them. There was never any real justification for the ban applying to pubs, or private clubs - just health fascism.

And that is if you accept the claims over so-called passive smoking…

Ruthie said...

This has already happened here, or at least in areas where smoking in bars/restaurants has been prohibited (as it has in my county of Minnesota, in all of New York City and in countless other places).

Almost every bar has an outdoor heater over the patio or back lot now.. I never remembered seeing them before.

I have to say, though, I have worked as a waitress for many, many years, and the switch to entirely non-smoking restaurants was a welcome one for me. When you're 16, coming home reeking of smoke is not enjoyable. I always had to wash my hair and clothes, and I still smelled it.

Surely no one forced me to work in restaurants, but that's where the good money is for a teenage girl. I can't think of another job that would pay $300+ on a good weekend for 10-12 hours of work.

The ban here doesn't apply to private clubs or to establishments whose main purpose is to sell alcohol, like certain bars and nightclubs.

Phil A said...

Ruthie, As a non smoker I must say generally I prefer non smoking restaurants. Also I wasn’t too keen on smoke interfering with my enjoyment of a meal or smelling like an ashtray when I visited a pub, I have a fairly acute sense of smell, but it was my choice to go in there, no one made me.

However Pubs are, or were, the sort of place where people chose to go to socialise, have a drink, some conversation and play darts or pool, more like a bar in the US. I think the Government went way too far banning smoking in pubs and private clubs.

It is interesting to hear that we are repeating a pattern seen in the US when smoking bans have been introduced, but it’s a logical development.

People don’t want to change what they do in a pub or bar, so they make the outside as much like the inside as possible and continue as before, despite the intent of the legislators.

One thing that I do find interesting is how the so-called ‘law of unintended consequences’ does sneak up and bite single issue pressure groups/ legislators in the rear time and again. They never seem to look at the wider ramifications of the changes they are introducing.

It would be interesting to know if home sales of the heaters took off in the US also, as a result of seeing their utility demonstrated outside bars.