CAFES, restaurants and pubs with outside eating areas will be asked to consider introducing a voluntary smoking ban.

The move is part of efforts by city council and NHS bosses in Brighton and Hove to help reduce the impact of smoking in the city.

It follows a consultation run by the council in 2015 asking people for their views about smoking in public spaces outside.

Suggestions for a smoking ban on the city’s beaches and parks was not supported in the survey.

However, there was majority support from non-smoking residents that restaurants and pubs with outdoor seating should be smoke free.

The majority of all those who responded agreed it was anti-social to smoke where people are eating and drinking.

A report due to be heard at Brighton and Hove’s health and wellbeing board tomorrow says work has started on a smoke-free outdoor dining scheme in the city which businesses will be asked to sign up to.

Unlike the national ban on smoking in public places indoors, there is no legislation to impose a ban on outdoor areas so any move by businesses would be voluntary.

Twelve businesses, including cafés, restaurants and pubs from the North Laine, Brighton Marina and city park areas, were interviewed by officials about the scheme.

Ten said they supported the concept of the scheme, although two had concerns about potentially losing loyal customers.

The other businesses did not support the idea, saying smokers were generally conscious of smoking around children.

One said it proactively asked people who were smoking outdoors to move away from tables if children were sitting nearby.

The report said the scheme was due to be launched this month.

David Sewell, who runs Brighton’s Pavilion Gardens café, said: “I’ve never smoked in my life but you have to be aware of what customers want.

“If there was a blanket ban enforced it would be a lot easier.

“If every café decided to introduce a ban then we would follow suit but if you are on your own then it could lead to you losing customers who come every day.

“It is a difficult balancing act and there is not an easy answer.

“You can either say no smoking at all or allow it and hope people use their common sense and are considerate of others.

“It is something worth debating and it will be interesting.

“However, it could affect different businesses in different ways, particularly the pub trade, and there may not be a lot of support there.”