It's been just over a week now since all of England's pubs, clubs, bars, work places and shops went smoke free. You can hardly miss the millions of no smoking signs that have now gone up in our high streets and vehicles but how has the smoking ban effected the way we go about our lives?
I'm a non smoker so welcomed the ban though was concerned about the social effects it may have. It's hard not to see the health benefits and I think in general the ban was welcomed.
I went out for the first time on Friday night since the ban, we started in our local Weatherspoons - The Shrewsbury Hotel as it has cheap drinks. The place was as always rammed with people there for the same reason I was, bar waiting times were no difference however I felt along with my friends the youngest in there.
Apart from us everyone inside was old, let me clarify old as in forty plus. Outside was different with its usual mix of old and young. It could just be that I hadn't noticed the old people mixed with the young before but there certainly seemed more of them.
Our next stop was Yates, this place is normally chav infested however bar waiting and fighting time was significantly reduced. The nice bar maid informed us that we had missed the busy time. Finally we ended up in our local club - Liquid, it was again pretty dead.
Of course the smoking ban might not be the only reason places were less busy:
- It was rainin so perhaps no one fancied getting wet queueing for the club then waiting for the taxi or walking home.
- People may be more interested in Big Brother this year therefore did not want to come out - though I find this one unlikely.
- Wimbledon highlights are almost as enthralling as teletext pages though might have kept people at home.
- Interest rates went up a quarter of a percent, not that many young people have mortgages and Yates hadn't yet started supplying copies of the FT.
- Reading the thousands of iPhone reviews is taking longer than expected.
It was nice not going out stinking of smoke and a drunk friend I bumped into in Liquid even mentioned how nice it was with no smoke which I thought was an interested topic of conversation considering his state and the fact I hadn't seen him in months.
The taxi driver on the way home said that the weekend before when people could still smoke was equally as dead so it looks like more than just the smoking ban is having an effect of peoples drinking habits.
So has the no smoking ban effected the way we live our lives? Well for me so far no and it hasn't put my friends off going out but I think its too early to tell the fuller extent of the ban.