Smokers Illegally Targetted On Railway Property.

Dear Sir,

I am writing with some concern, having recently witnessed a member of the public being fined for dropping a cigarette end on the pavement directly outside Exeter St Davids railway station. I was under the impression that this area was privately owned, and my subsequent investigation confirmed that this was indeed the case.

It would appear that the "smoking police" employed by Exeter City Council are being somewhat overzealous in their quest to boost the council coffers. To this end, I think it only fair that members of the public are made aware that any fine imposed on railway property should be safely ignored. Furthermore, those who have unwittingly paid such fines need to be aware that the council are acting unlawfully, and I would urge them to press for a full refund and apology.

It is my opinion that the council should be held responsible, in the same way in which the television broadcasters were recently brought to book, for wrongly charging viewers on premium rate telephone numbers.

Clarification of this matter from council chiefs would I'm sure be welcomed by smokers, and I urge them to respond through your columns at the earliest convenience.

Note: This letter was not published in the Express & Echo, no doubt down to the official denotice on any pro-smoking malarkey by HM Gov.

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Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Sir,

I am writing an open letter today in an attempt to seek clarification from someone on the effects of the July 1st smoking ban on pub profits.

On September 7th, the UK's largest pub chain, JD Wetherspoon, who's flagship pub, The Imperial is a local landmark in Exeter, issued a statement which read "JD Wetherspoon has delivered record results as the UK smoking ban failed to dent profits" (Source: CatererSearch).

Just 2 months later, on November 7th, it issued a statement which stated that "it remained cautious over trading after the introduction of the smoking ban in England dented sales" (Source: Reading Evening Post).

I am naturally a little bemused by this, and would like some kind of explanation from Wetherspoon supremo, and local resident, Tim Martin as to what all this means exactly.

Would it be cynical of me to say that the first statement was written for the shareholders, while the second one is a matter of public record?

On another note, now that the winter weather is finally with us, and the social lepers who choose to smoke are herded on to the street, or designated "dying area", I wonder how local publicans are faring. To request their comments through the E&E would be a trifle unfair, as few publicans will admit to having an empty pub, but perhaps there are those who will give us an honest answer?

I await the replies from them and Mr Martin with interest.

Note: This letter was not published in the Express & Echo, no doubt down to the official denotice on any pro-smoking malarkey by HM Gov.

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