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Monday 4 June 2012

Bulgarian bars and restaurants booming after smoking ban.

Or maybe not.

Empty tables, grumpy customers, and worried owners were the common picture in nightclubs and bars during the first weekend of the full smoking ban in public spaces in Bulgaria.

According to the Cross news agency, lines of people smoking outside were seen near some of the most popular establishments in the capital Sofia with some of them having no more than 7-8 visitors inside during what was previously known as their peak hours.

"If this remains the same, we will soon go bankrupt," terrified owners are quoted saying.

Remember how the Tobacco Control Industry* said that wouldn't  happen after the 2007 ban in the UK. Their spin on the ban was that non-smokers would fill the pubs in their droves. All I see is boarded up pubs the length and breadths off our high streets.

A few weekends ago I visited the nearest pub to me due to it being a sunny day and I had guests. Outside the pub were tables with about 80% of them being smokers. Inside there was just 2 people. The tenant of the pub is doing his best, but admitted to me that he is losing the battle when the weather is inclement.

Back to Bulgaria.

At least they don’t have as many prod nosed Fascists that we have patrolling their streets. (No apologies for calling them fascists. After all they are following the exact same strategy that Adolph Hitler promulgated).

Cross further reports that a number of owners of bars and nightclubs in the second largest city of Plovdiv have allowed their customers to smoke despite the steep fines. Their boldness is grounded in the fact that there are only four teams of health inspectors with two people each checking more than 4 000 night establishments in the city.

"We were waiting for you and thought you would never come," the owners have joked upon the arrival of the inspectors.

If only we had a few more publicans like Nick Hogan to have stood up against the smoking police. we might have more of our favourite watering holes alive and well.

I’m just going to pour myself another Whisky and have a fag. (For American readers a fag is a cigarette).

*Apparently they hate the word industry. Tough shit. The cap fits.