More than 300,000 pubs, restaurants and other venues are supporting the Charter on Smoking in Public Places. Under it, five signs indicate different smoking policies: smoking banned throughout the premises; smoking allowed everywhere; separate smoking areas; superior ventilation in separate smoking areas; or superior ventilation throughout.
The charter was put together by five organisations representing the hospitality industry. Although the scheme is voluntary, the industry hopes enough companies will sign up to convince the Government that an all-out ban on smoking in public is not necessary.
Nick Bish, secretary of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, one of the five organisations involved, said: "This programme of signage will let customers know a venue's smoking policy before they even enter the premises and gives them clear choices."
Steve Woodward, smoking programme manager at the Health Education Authority, said: "Recent surveys show that the majority of people favour tighter restrictions on smoking in public places.
"Cigarettes and alcohol do not have to go hand in hand - and many publicans are realising that smoke-free areas are good for business."
The Public Health minister, Tessa Jowell, welcomed the charter, claiming that it would "deliver real results and help save lives".
She added: "Thousands of people each year will be able to eat and drink in healthier, cleaner and more enjoyable surroundings."Reuse content