Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

I've Now Quit, Says Landlord Locked Up for Defying the Law

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

I've Now Quit, Says Landlord Locked Up for Defying the Law

Article excerpt

A FORMER pub landlord, who is the only person to be jailed over the smoking ban, has revealed he's quit the cigarettes.

Nick Hogan, 50, made headlines around the world after he held a 'mass light-up' at the Swan and Barristers pub in Bolton on the day the legislation came into force - July 1, 2007.

He was convicted of failing to prevent people from smoking in his pub on four separate occasions and ordered to pay more than £10,000 in fines and court costs.

Failure to pay the fines and fees led to him being jailed for six months, although he served just 11 days after a campaign to free him raised the total sum of money owed.

Speaking 10 years on from the ban's introduction, Mr Hogan, a father-of-two and grandfather from Elton, Bury, said that despite giving up, he doesn't regret the choice he made to defy the ban.

"I have been proven right and I think I have been vindicated because of the demise of the pub trade," he told the M.E.N. "That was the whole argument to begin with. I was a smoker but it was not about smoking. It was all about the freedom to choose.

"I was a business owner and I had a responsibility as a director to protect that business. I had 120 people working for me and I had a responsibility to those people and their families."

Mr Hogan argues that the number of smokers has only fallen 'slightly' since the legislation came into force.

"Even today around 17 per cent of the UK population smoke and depending on whose figures you believe, it still generates up to £13bn a year in tax and duties," he said.

"Why did the government ban the person and not the product? The answer is that they were hypocrites and want the money."

He said he made a 'conscious decision' to stop smoking on turning 50 in February.

Mr Hogan remembers the 'mass light-up' as a carnival atmosphere.

"It was very smoky inside, which was the intention," he said. …

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