Pubs will be visited more often by a quarter of people in the wake of the ban on smoking in public places in England, a survey suggests.
The ban comes into force on July 1st 2007 and fears have been raised by some that it could be bad for business.
But a new survey released today by the campaign group Ash and the British Thoracic Society (BTS) suggests that the opposite will be true.
One in four people said they will go to pubs more often from July onwards and one in six expects to go to cafes and restaurants more frequently.
Other people's smoke is the reason behind the anticipated change; three-quarters said they were bothered by secondhand smoke.
Less than one tenth of the 1,562 adults surveyed said they will go to pubs less often after the ban comes into force.
Martin Dockrell, policy and campaigns manager at Ash, said the survey's results were "encouraging".
"Record numbers of smokers – especially the young – are set to quit for good, more people will be going to pubs and restaurants, customers and workers will be healthier," he said.
"Even smokers are coming on board with almost as many supporting the law as opposing it. Everybody wins except the tobacco manufacturers and undertakers".
Dr Lawrence McAlpine, chair of the BTS tobacco committee, added: "With almost four million smokers in England intending to quit in the first year of this momentous law, the potential health gain is enormous. This is a major one-off opportunity and the NHS needs to [be] poised to really drive smokefree home this summer."