THE smoke has cleared but now we know what pubs really smell like. Bars across Scotland have installed air fresheners and improved ventilation since the smoking ban was introduced, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.
Publicans have been besieged with complaints about unpleasant smells in their establishments since the ban on smoking in public places was introduced last month.
They claim odours from sweating drinkers, strong perfume and stench from toilets were previously masked by the cigarette fumes.
A straw poll of 82 bars in five Scottish cities, conducted by this newspaper, found nearly three-quarters had experienced problems with unpleasant odours since the ban was introduced at the end of March.
In Edinburgh, bosses at the City Caf said they had been forced to burn incense and install fans to deal with the smell. And at the Abbey in the city's Newington area, staff have had to open windows and doors to let in fresh air.
The Standard Bar in Glasgow has invested in air fresheners, while the city's Doublet bar has had to keep its ventilation system turned on full to dispel the stench.
Licensed trade leaders claim the smoking ban has created a number of unexpected problems that bar owners were now having to deal with. The Scottish Licensed Trade Association has already expressed horror after a barman in Edinburgh's Leith area was assaulted by a drunken smoker after he was asked to put out a cigarette.
Paul Waterson, chief executive of the association, said: "Hopefully we will not see people staying away from bars because of unpleasant smells they may be noticing now, but obviously it will be a worry for publicans."
Smokers flouting the ban can face on-the-spot fines of 50. Similar legislation is due to be introduced south of the Border later next year.