Hmmm, Smoking ban - Has been in operation here in Ireland a few years now.
First thing to note is the change in the air - And it's not all nice - Peoples farts in a pub are now highlighted !!! I kid you not, the smoke used to mask it !
Overall - yes it was wrong for a govt. to have to introduce a ban, but in hindsight, people weren't going to do it voluntarily.
Since the introduction, the appeal of a night out has gone up, the air is fresher, there are more seats available, and apparently the new 'chat-up areas - are outside with fellow smokers or inside at the bar with other non-smokers.
So yes the character has changed and a lot has been lost, but there has been more in return. Healthier pints and more comfort.
I believe a few pubs have shut their doors, not many but a few. But Is it a factor of the smoking ban or increased vigilence on drink-driving ? I doubt we'll ever know.
Now - if only the publicans would realise that cheaper pints might encourage even more drinkers to return - now there's an idea !