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Bars that ban smoking will do well

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The Dickens Bar of the Excelsior Hotel in Causeway Bay has strictly enforced the no-smoking ban from day one without apparently losing customers.

They are happy to go there to watch a soccer game and have a beer, knowing they cannot light up, because they are in a well-run bar. They will come even though the prices are not cheap.

Contrast that with a bar I visited in Sheung Shui about nine months ago to watch a match. Locals looked at me initially as if I was a spy, then lost their inhibitions and started smoking.

When you are in a bar like that, it makes you wonder what other laws are being broken; perhaps, for example, the sale of drugs or counterfeit goods.

Don’t these publicans realise they are shooting themselves in the foot? They should pay a visit to the Dickens and copy its entrepreneurial strategy.

Because it is so well run and sticks to the law, in business terms it will do well in the long run. As I said, non-smokers are happy to pay the relatively high prices so they can enjoy a few quiet hours in a clean and tidy environment.

Pang Chi-ming, Fanling

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