A recent article from a hospitality industry portal shows us what sorts of headaches the industry really faces when unwelcome regulations are dumped onto their plates. In the case of smoking bans, pub and bar owners, who have always had to deal with the possibility of violent or uncivil behaviour, are now facing new challenges and new expenses.

Among other measures, they are advised to "carry out risk assessments" in connection with the enforcement of smoking bans, to "train employees to anticipate and deal with potentially violent scenarios" and also to "hire extra doormen to police the ban". The installation of cameras and alarm systems are also suggested.

Clearly, the bans are imposing new expenditures of time and money on the beleaguered publicans. At the same time, measures that will increase a sense of being monitored, spied upon, and policed will unvariably lead to a less appealing atmosphere for customers. This is especially damaging in cozy neighborhood spots where a "Cheers"-like atmosphere once prevailed. Even if the superficial behaviour of staff and customers remains the same, a surveillance camera changes the psychological significance of the interaction among people — demeaning it. No one wants to admit this or ponder the implications. But it is a fact nonetheless.



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