A REAL ale group says the impending smoking ban will bring millions more people into pubs.
A new survey by the Campaign for Real Ale reveals the public's attitude to the Government's ban on smoking in enclosed public places, which will come in on July 1.
The ban will cover places such as pubs, clubs, bingo halls, offices, company cars, theatres, cinemas, hospitals, taxis and council buildings.
Critics say the ban could drive customers who smoke out of pubs.
But Camra's survey suggests that trade would be boosted as people - especially non-smokers - plan to visit pubs more often after the ban.
This is what has already happened in Huddersfield pub The Star.
Landlady Samantha Watt decided that the Folly Hall pub would go smoke free last month.
She says her customers have supported the idea, adding: "It's been going very well so far. The reaction has been positive, even from the smokers.
"Some of them have cut down because they don't want to go outside.
"We have even had new people coming in because it is smoke-free."
The Camra survey showed that 6.2m regular pub visitors said they would go more often after the ban.
About 97% of those people were non-smokers.
On top of that, 840,000 people who are not regular pubgoers said they would go if pubs were non-smoking.
Regular smokers were questioned and 68% said the smoking ban would not change their pub visiting habits.
Only 3% said they would not visit a pub after the ban.
Camra chief executive Mike Benner said: "The smoking ban will be a difficult transition for licensees.
"They will have to ensure that other factors, such as quality of real ale, food, atmosphere and welcome are all superb.
"If this is the case then the traditional community pub will have a bright and healthy future."
Councils all over Britain have been given cash by the Government to help introduce the smoking ban.
Kirklees has been given £205,880. The cash is expected to cover a variety of things, including erecting `no smoking' signs on council property or in vehicles.
It will also cover extra costs put on licensing and planning departments.
But most of the money is to be spent on enforcing the ban.
The council plans to do this by introducing three officers to act as `smoke police'.
They will be responsible for making people aware of the ban.
They will also have the power to slap £50 on-the-spot fines on people who light up where they shouldn't.
The plan to introduce these measures was passed by the Kirklees Council Cabinet on Wednesday.
But the amount being spent on enforcing the ban was criticised by Lib-Dem Clr John Smithson.
He said: "The funding will not be ring-fenced. We can do what we want with it.
"There needs to be a publicity campaign, but it doesn't take three people, full-time, to do that."
He said the council was being extravagant.
But council leader Clr Robert Light said there needed to be enforcement in the first few months of the ban, "otherwise there will be a lot of complaints and nobody to deal with them".
The Cabinet also approved Clr Martyn Bolt as the council's no smoking `champion'. He will promote the ban and gain support for it.
He said venues would be `self- policing', with large fines giving them an incentive not to break the new law.
He added that venues that had gone smoke-free were already seeing a posi-tive response.