If you’re a smoker who enjoys puffing away at the bar, Government’s plan for a blanket ban on smoking in any enclosed public place is probably less than welcome — but bar ownersdon’t share your concern.

Instead pubs, bars and restaurants are broadly supportive of the plan, and believe that smokers’ gloom will not lead to a decrease in profits.

Philip Barnett, spokesman for the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce’s restaurant and bars division, said:

“There are some restaurants and bars whose owners are concerned because they perceive that a lot of their clientele smoke — but that’s why we wanted the ban to be across every premises. If the smokers can’t smoke in any bar [then no business loses out].

“We do see some difficulties but a ban is most important for the health of our staff — it’s probably a good thing,” he said.

He added that previous proposals, that suggested smoking would also be banned from within 25 feet of public premises, could have been harmful for business, and that those plans were opposed by the chamber’s restaurant division.

While business leaders were supportive, smokers spoken to in various bars were less enthused, with some suggesting they might drink more at home.

The flip side of that, said Mark O’Connor, one of the managers at Docksiders’ pub, was that a ban would encourage more non-smokers to come out:

“It’s better for the staff, and better for the equipment, such as the monitors and TV screens. It’s harder for our patrons, but luckily we have a porch outside so if they wanted to go outside they could.”

The plan to outlaw smoking in enclosed public places is part of a white paper that has been presented to the House of Assembly.