PWC warns venues on smoking ban

UK hospitality businesses that do not plan for the new smoking ban legislation risk longer periods of hardship and potential closures than those that do plan, according to a report by accounting and consultancy firm Pricewaterhousecoopers. The scale of the impact will vary for different types of businesses but for the companies most affected a revenue decline of up to 15 percent is possible, with many taking more than three years to recover to pre-ban revenue levels, the study warns. In its briefing paper, “Preparing for the impact of the smoking ban”, Pricewaterhousecoopers indicated that businesses need to assess the smoking prevalence amongst customers and how smokers might modify their behaviour following the ban to build a picture of how they might be impacted. Pricewaterhousecoopers head of leisure David Trunkfield commented: “We have seen smoking prevalence ranging from 20% of customers to more than 50%. But the big issue is how those smokers might alter their behaviour after the ban and the knock-on effect that might have on revenues and profit.” “The experience of existing smoking bans in other countries shows that some industries have seen revenues drop dramatically and have taken several years to recover to pre-ban levels,” Trunkfield added. “In fact, some individual businesses may never recover and may face closure.” The smoking ban will be implemented in Wales on 2 April, Northern Ireland on 30 April and England on 1 July.

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