The Controversial Pub Policies that have Caused Split Opinion

Pub policies have often divided consumer opinion, usually if it’s something that affects how they spend their time at the venue. From the introduction of E-cigarettes to dogs on the premises, we take a look at the top controversial pub policies that have split opinion. 

The Controversial Pub Policies that have Caused Split Opinion


This policy has always divided both smokers and non-smokers alike. Only a few years ago did the first electronic cigarette arrive on the scene and now they’re considered commonplace. Scientifically proven to be a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes, and they come in a multitude of flavours, the boom has seen the market rise millions per year.

As with any new alternative, confusion surrounds as so how they can be implemented into society, with rules and policies not being as clear as that of normal cigarettes. It is in fact, not illegal to vape inside a pub, as they aren’t included under the Health Act 2006 that justified the smoking ban. A seemingly concrete act that won’t be contested anytime soon – a poll of more than 4,000 adults by YouGov released for the 10th anniversary found nearly three-quarters of people would oppose the ban being overturned, with just 12% wanting to get rid of it.

Furthermore, pubs can certainly bring in the policy if they don’t want e-cigs and vapers present inside their pubs, but if the customer was to, 

The Department of Health commissioned an evidence review that was published in 2011. It highlighted a fall in respiratory illness reported by bar workers immediately after the ban.

Challenge 21/25

A scheme that was brought in by JD Wetherspoon over a decade ago, the purpose was to lower the number of customers attempting to buy age-restricted products at a site. Customers were asked to prove their age if the retailer thought that they looked under the age of 21 or 25, despite the age of restriction for buying alcohol and tobacco products at 18. 

This trend took off in the U.K and before long many other pubs nationwide begun to implement it, as a way of lowering both the percentage of underage drinkers as well as lowering the chances of the establishment receiving a hefty fine from undercover secret customers. If underage drinkers are aware of the tougher restrictions placed by shops, supermarkets and pubs then that will limit the amount of times they attempt to deceive the retailers.

This scheme is seemingly doing what it intended, with stats showing that since 2007, the amount of underage drinkers has witnessed a steady continuous decline over the years up until 2014, where it had fallen to 18% from 44%. 

Dog-friendly premises

Currently, no law forbids dogs from entering a premise, if they don’t enter an area where fresh food is being prepared. But like the other policies, it is entirely the discretion of the owners as to whether they allow customers to bring along their canine friends, but research suggests that if an establishment is dog friendly, it will bring in more business than one that isn’t.

From producing more happy hormones as a resulting of stroking a dog, to relieving stress, dogs bring about many benefits that go beyond the obvious financial ones for a business. But animal allergies are a very real thing, so there are arguments for both sides of this policy. However, providing plenty of signage and areas where dogs aren’t allowed such as the eating rooms of a restaurant, is one of the more lenient policies that are becoming more and more relaxed as time goes on, adapting to the cultural trends of the U.K.

This can be positive, however, encouraging more dogs on a premises and supplying healthy dog food – such as Butternut Box – is not only good for marketing purposes, but it breeds a community feel, prompting dog-walkers alike to meet up and socialise.

Sean Donkin, Managing Director of The Inn Collection Group, who own Alnwick restaurants, such as the Hog’s Head Inn, among others, said: “The decision to make our Inn’s dog-friendly was predominately a business opportunity which was being overlooked by our competitors. The rural areas in which our Inn’s are mainly located are popular with dogs and families, but this doesn’t cover the whole premises, just a selection of the pub”.

Smuggling drinks

Similar to bringing in sweets bought from a supermarket into the cinema, in the UK, it’s not unheard of for people to bring in drinks they’ve bought elsewhere into a new premises, usually out of a drunken mistake or a means to save on some money. The majority of pubs do not allow revellers to enter their premises with previously purchased drinks, on the basis that they’ll be losing profit. 

Although they can charge a ‘corkage’ fee, that compensates for this, usually in cases where people bring their own wine to meals, rather than allowing pint glasses full of beer in their pubs.


Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.

rachel bustin
Thank you for sharing

One thought on “The Controversial Pub Policies that have Caused Split Opinion

  1. I’m old enough to remember when smoking and dogs in pubs was simply not an issue . Mind you in those days a pint of lager was 26 pence !!!

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