Pubs and clubs should be given the option to provide well-ventilated smoking rooms, according to Anthony Worrall Thompson.

The TV chef and publican has launched an online petition calling on the government to re-examine the impact of the smoking ban on business.

“Since the introduction of the smoking ban there has been a dramatic increase in pub closures,” said Worrall Thompson, who runs The Greyhound pub at Rotherfield Peppard near Henley-on-Thames and is patron of the smokers’ group Forest.

“The ban has damaged local communities, with thousands of people deciding to stay at home instead of going out.

“Tobacco is a legal product. In Britain, ten million adult smokers contribute £10bn a year in tobacco taxation alone. It’s only right they should be accommodated in some public places.”

Simon Clark of Forest and the Save Our Pubs and Clubs campaign added: “We want the smoking ban amended so licensees can choose to provide a separate, well-ventilated smoking room for adults who wish to smoke. Let common sense prevail.”

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