LAURA CARTLEDGE: There’s no smoke without fire, but there can be pubs without cigs

Remember the good old days?

When Marty Mcfly had only been Back to the Future once, you could play conkers without wearing goggles and you could barely see the bar for the cloud of secondhand smoke...

Oh wait, not the last one.

There is no doubt the smoking ban has affected the good old pub. By affected I mean it has, in some cases, killed them off – which given the subject matter could be seen as a little ironic.

However in other instances there is no doubt it has made them change for the better, too.

Families can now enjoy a roast dinner with all the trimmings and none of the washing-up without smelling, feeling and coughing like they’ve been lounging in an ashtray.

That’s an appetising thought, isn’t it?

I think blaming the ban for ruining pubs is shortsighted.

Smoking is bad for you – fact.

It is a sad statistic that 26 pubs are closing per week.

But, on the depressing maths scale, I would say that 100,000 people being killed by smoking in the UK each year is the bigger tragedy.

Or, to channel my inner Carol Vorderman for a bit longer – that adds up to 1,000 pubs a year versus 1,923 (and a bit) deaths every week.

Nobody knows exactly how many people have stopped lighting up because of being put out in the cold – quite literally.

But no-one could say that deterring people from the habit is a bad thing, either.

There is a nostalgic affection for smoking; whether it is on the football terraces or in cinema screens.

Look closely and you can still spot ashtrays on aeroplanes.

And it is worth noting all three of these are still going strong despite the smoking being stubbed out.

So to quote two, rather different, geniuses – the times are a’changing and it is survival of the fittest – and in this case I’m happy about that.