Smoking is sent out with a bang

PUBLISHED: 10:59 09 July 2007 | UPDATED: 11:15 24 May 2010

SCORES of nicotine lovers from Cheddar puffed away into the early hours at a special smoke-a-thon at The Galleries

SCORES of nicotine lovers from Cheddar puffed away into the early hours at a special smoke-a-thon at The Galleries last Saturday.The pub, in The Cliffs, held a smoke-fest to enable smokers to spend one last evening sparking up in the venue before the ban came into force across England at 6am on Sunday.Punters were encouraged to dress as celebrities and those who entered into the spirit were given a free cocktail.Landlady Karyn Sturmey said: "We were the last smoking pub in Cheddar and we sent smoking out with a bang. "This was a popular smoking pub so we thought we'd let our customers smoke until dawn and then stop. It was lots of fun."I've had lots of positive comments about the ban. One lady came in on Sunday who said she hadn't been in a pub for eight years because she was asthmatic and couldn't be around smoke. We have lots of people trying to give up now and we're giving out leaflets to show what help is available."The pub kept up the festivities until 3.30am before the last butts were stubbed out in the watering hole's ashtrays.The Galleries now has umbrellas and a gazebo to provide shelter for customers who pop outside for a puff and will also be putting up a pagoda in September.Many other pubs in Cheddar, Axbridge, Wedmore and Shipham are providing pagodas or patio areas with umbrellas and heaters to keep their smokers warm.Some pubs such as The White Hart in Cheddar and The New Inn in Cross are welcoming the ban because they believe it will boost trade.New Inn landlady Emma Britain said: "I think we'll get busier now smoking is banned because we are more of a food-based pub. I think a lot of people have tended to avoid pubs in the past because of the smoke, so we're expecting trade to pick up."But not everyone is feeling positive about the new law. Amelia Stelling, from The Trotter Inn, Wedmore, is worried the smokers at her pub will be put off by the ban.She said: "Most people who come here smoke so we're not sure how it's going to affect us. We're planning to put a shelter up outside in the next couple of months, but only time will tell whether it affects our business."* Has your business come up with an interesting way to shelter smokers while they're puffing away outside? Anyone with any interesting solutions to the ban can call the newsdesk on 01934 422500, send an email to newsdesk@thewestonmercury.co.uk or log on to www.thewestonmercury.co.uk

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