Last week's long-awaited parliamentary decision in favor of a blanket smoking ban in U.K. pubs left the establishments with their most favorable scenario.

The concern had been that while pubs and restaurants would face the ban, private members' clubs might be exempted (ASR, 1/16/06). According to the British Beer & Pub Association, more than 20,000 private clubs are registered in England and Wales. Implementing a partial ban that excluded these clubs would have created an uneven playing field and could have caused a loss of business for pubs to the private clubs.

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