A SMOKING ban in Wales could be disastrous for pubs and clubs according to some licensees.
Owners of some Wrexham premises claim a ban on smoking would drive customers away as they opted to stay at home to drink and smoke.
Geoff Williams, of town centre pub the Horse and Jockey, said he believes smoking and drinking go together, despite being a non-smoker himself.
'For many people having a smoke with your pint is normal,' he said. 'I can understand why the Assembly want to look at a ban but to do it would be a mistake.
'I can understand their point of view but there are plenty of places people can go which don't have smoky atmospheres.
'Admittedly it would save us landlords the expense of decorating and air purification systems, but it could also cause trouble.'
He added: 'Imagine a young lad "tanked up" who is smoking and you have to tell him to go outside. He will most likely "kick off" and if that happens a lot, it will cause real problems.
'People will choose to stay at home, where they can smoke, if a ban is brought in. I have heard that in Ireland, where they have a ban, takings are already down and beer prices have risen by 15% to make up the difference.'
Geoff concluded: 'I think smoking should be left alone. If the Government managed to convince everyone to stop smoking, as they seem to be trying to do, where else would they get the massive revenue cigarettes currently provide? It would be is impossible.'
Nightclub bosses at Liquid and Envy are also unimpressed by the thought of a smoking ban.
'Obviously if it was brought in as a law, we would obey it and ban smoking from the club,' said spokesman Steve Hill. 'However, we are not thrilled by the idea at all.
'We do not have any clubs in Ireland where there is a ban and so we do not know how it will affect business but from the stories we have heard, the non-smoking route is not beneficial to business.
'We think our customers are responsible enough to make their own choices and if they do not want to be in a smoky atmosphere they won't come in.
He said: 'Those who do come in know what they are entering into. They do not need the state to get rid of smoke for them. But if the ban comes to Wales we will adhere to the law as we always do.'