First smoke-free pub for Winchester

The Green Man pub in Winchester is to go completely smoke free on 1 May this year.

Geoff Lugger and Bethan Manning took over the tenancy of the pub in Southgate Street just over a month ago, having moved from a successful largely smoke free pub in Botley. They say they were astonished to find there was not yet a smoke free pub in Winchester city centre and despite having no-smoking signs on the tables in the dining area, were dismayed that smoke in the bar was having an effect on the whole pub.

"We are looking forward to welcoming customers who don't want to go home with clothes and hair reeking of smoke," said Geoff. "Those of our customers who do smoke are welcome to go into our courtyard for a cigarette."

The move has been welcomed by Winchester City Council and the NHS, which are supporting the Smoke Free Eating and Drinking Award Scheme.

Robert Carroll, Head of Health Promotion for Mid Hampshire Primary Care Trust, said, "This is great news for Winchester. At last people who go out in the city centre will be able to have a drink or a meal in a pub without suffering the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. Until now they did not have a choice and I congratulate Geoff and Bethan for responding to the wishes of the majority of people who prefer not to sit in a smoky atmosphere."

Shortly to follow the Green Man is a local country pub - The Dog & Crook in Brambridge - which is to go smoke free on 1 June. Both the publican, Kevin Dawkins, and some of his regulars have recently stopped smoking with the help of the NHS Quit Smoking Service. They say that although they now don't like smoky atmospheres they know that they will find it hard to stay quit while smoking is allowed in one area of the pub.

"We are determined to succeed this time," said Kevin, "and once the pub is smoke free it will be easier to resist the temptation to light up. Now our customers will appreciate the smell of our wonderful food instead of stale smoke as they walk in the door!"

Both pubs are proud of the range and quality of the food they offer and hope that, like Greens Restaurant & Pub in Wickham, which went smoke free in 2003, they will find food sales increasing when word gets round that they offer fresh air as well as fresh food.

The Smoke Free Award Scheme is compiling a guide of smoke free places to eat and drink in Hampshire and these three pubs will be featured, along with cafes, restaurants and hotels that are totally smoke free. The guide will be available in June from tourist information centres, libraries and council offices.