Smoking would be banned in pubs, restaurants and offices unless they met strict licensing conditions under plans reportedly being studied by ministers.
According to The Times, anyone applying to a local authority for a licence to allow smoking in a “confined public space” would have to meet conditions, including the protection of children from contact with smoke and minimising health risks to employees.
In practice, that could mean that any pub or restaurant open to children would be denied a licence. Smoking in areas where staff work, such as bars, would also be prohibited.
But smoking rooms in offices could continue, while licences might also be granted for well-ventilated sections of pubs, clubs and restaurants where there was a reliable guarantee that children would not be present.
The newspaper said if the idea is approved by the Cabinet, it will be included in the public health White Paper which is expected within weeks.
A Department of Health spokesman said that the Government’s full policy on the issue would be outlined in the White Paper.