The government has ruled out the possibility of the smoking ban being extended to cover pub gardens.

The Royal Society of Public Health recently called for existing restrictions on smoking in indoor public spaces to be applied to outdoor areas as well,

 such as beer gardens and outside dining areas.

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the organisation, said this could reduce the chances of children seeing smoking as a "normal and safe habit".

She argued that setting up exclusion zones in outdoor locations "could further denormalise smoking, ensuring that it is seen as an abnormal activity and potentially, prevent children and young people from beginning in the future".

However, the idea was widely criticised, with smokers' lobby group Forest suggesting it would discriminate against adults who enjoy smoking and possibly lead to more pubs shutting down.

Meanwhile, the British Beer and Pub Association insisted an extension is unnecessary as the current regulations work well, with measures already in place to ensure pub staff and customers are not exposed to other people's smoke.

The government has now confirmed to the Publican's Morning Advertiser that the proposal is not on its agenda and no consultation on the idea will be held.