Only half of people in England think the ban on smoking in pubs, which came into effect yesterday, is a good idea, a survey shows.
The annual British Social Attitudes survey, conducted by the National Center for Social Research, has found that 49% of its respondents believe people should be allowed to smoke freely in pubs or at least in designated smoking areas.
Banning smoking in restaurants and the workplace is more popular, with 73% and 60% of respondents in favour, respectively.
Researchers say the ban in smoking in pubs is already more popular in England than it was before a smoking ban was introduced in Scotland earlier this year.
Researcher Mark Johnson comments: "That only around half of the public support the ban on smoking in pubs will not be good news for the government ahead of Sunday's introduction.
"Even worse, is that it is less popular among their traditional working class constituency."
He adds: "No doubt the government will be hoping that once the ban has been introduced, public opinion will swing around in favour. Certainly, the evidence from Scotland is that it could."
"Thank you for at least pointing out, the more realistic figures of this draconian ban. I would like to know how so many lies have been allowed in the media and TV. This was never about so-called second hand smoke, those that did some homework knew they would start banning it outside too. I do not work in the NHS (thank goodness) but I was so angry that they send doctors and nurses and all other staff off site to smoke. Will they be sending the large people off site too, to "denormalize them. People are not robots. They have feelings and needs, demand for anti- depressants will rise I think." - Name and address supplied