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The Phoenix, Glasgow

The Phoenix pub has been operating beside Queen Street station in Glasgow for over six years and became Scotland’s first smoke-free pub when it introduced its No Smoking policy in March 2004.

Manager Ross Duncan says the initial motivation for going smoke-free was commercial. It helped them to stand out from the crowd and provided a venue for those who enjoy their drink without the smoke.

The Phoenix pub

The idea was originally formed when customers queried the possibility of a smoking ban being introduced in Scotland, following smoke-free legislation being passed in Ireland and North America.

According to Mr Duncan, the pub has undergone quite a change since becoming smoke-free.

He says they have noticed a turnover of customers in recent months, with the bar attracting a more varied clientele.

Rather than just being a pub for commuters looking to have a pint and a cigarette before catching the train, staff at The Phoenix now see a mixture of shoppers, tourists and office workers who drop in to enjoy lunch, dinner or a restorative drink.

Mr Duncan says there has been a noticeable shift towards food sales since they introduced a ban on smoking. It helps to keep profits up and people enjoy eating in a smoke-free environment.

They closed their upstairs function room around the same time as the No Smoking policy was introduced and now both floors of the pub are open to the public all the time. Food is served between midday and 8pm and that has ensured a regular stream of customers.

Because the pub is marketed as smoke-free, with a lot of signage in the windows and on Point of Sale products in the bar, there have not been any problems with customers not realising that they cannot smoke.

People make a point of going to The Phoenix because it is smoke-free and they praise the smoke-free atmosphere.

Mr Duncan says that staff definitely prefer working in the smoke-free environment – even those who smoke.

“I certainly prefer the atmosphere. I used to smoke myself and never used to consider the smoky air a problem, but I certainly prefer it now I’ve had a chance to experience it. We have regular staff nights out and when you go into nearby pubs that do allow smoking, you can tell the difference straight away. Now we have a smoke-free policy, I wouldn’t choose to go back.”

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Smokeline Scotland
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Smoking, Health and Social Care Act (Scotland) 2005

Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006