Hospitality providers in Brighton and Hove could soon be asked to impose smoking bans outside their premises.

While Brighton & Hove City Council has no plans to introduce any extra compulsory smoking restrictions for businesses, it is planning to consult to gauge views on whether tighter restrictions on smoking would be popular with the public.

This means that pubs, bars and clubs could be encouraged to introduce additional limits on where patrons can smoke that extend to outdoor spaces, the Brighton & Hove News reports.

Councillor Dan Yates, head of the city's health and wellbeing board, said the authority currently has no information on people's attitudes to smoking in areas where customers are eating and drinking.

As a result, it is keen to see whether they would support outside areas being smoke-free, as the current smoking ban only applies to the inside of pubs and restaurants.

Cllr Yates went on to stress that the council is "certainly not looking at any additional compulsory smoking restrictions to business, other than the existing smoking ban".

This assurance could help assuage critics of further mandatory regulations, as Nick Mosley of the Brighton and Hove Food and Drink Festival believes new enforced rules could have a "significant impact on some bars, pubs and clubs in the city".

As a result, he believes that efforts to cut the number of people smoking and prevent children being exposed to second-hand smoke could only work on a venue-by-venue voluntary basis.

Nick Griffin, managing director of pub operator Pleisure, added that any mandatory smoking bans would simply drive smokers on to the streets where no restrictions are in place.

This, he said, would be a "worse scenario with more scope for litter, visibility from children and no greater protection for the public".