People should be allowed to smoke inside pubs if there are private rooms available for doing so, a new study has said, with some analysts claiming that such a measure could help to revive the industry.
A recent poll produced by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) questioned 4,135 adults and found that a sizable majority agreed that a smoking room should be permitted in Britain's pubs.
In total, 51 per cent of respondents agreed with the idea, versus only 35 per cent who opposed it. In addition, seven out of ten participants agreed with the sentiment that individuals should be responsible for their own lifestyle choices and that the government should not interfere.
Respondents were also asked for their views on alcohol-related taxation,with two thirds saying that the tax on a bottle of wine is too high, while half thought the same about a bottle of vodka.
However, a lower proportion (41 per cent) of people thought that the tax on beer was too high, and a third agreed that it was just about right.
In 2007, a blanket smoking ban saw smokers banished to the streets as it became illegal to smoke inside restaurants, workplaces and private members' clubs without exception, to the outcry of pro-smoking groups.
The survey is contrary to the coalition government's attitude on the subject, as it dropped a review into the smoking ban in 2010 after coming to power, claiming the ban had "had no adverse impact on the hospitality industry".
Some analysts point to the smoking ban as a reason that Britain's many pubs and bars have struggled since 2007, with people choosing to stay at home where they can smoke indoors rather than go out in the evening.
The survey added that while the British public seems to oppose so-called sin taxes and laws, they were much keener on the idea of introducing stronger health warnings on alcoholic beverages, with 72 per cent of those questioned supporting the idea.
Robert Botkai, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood Solicitors, commented: "A somewhat strange survey. Does anyone really think that smoking rooms will make a come back? Who did they question? "