English pubs that have already banned smoking have seen their profits rise by an average of 50%, according to a survey.
There had been fears that the forthcoming ban would drive away customers, but 80% of the 100 landlords in England and Wales questioned by The Times](http://www.timesonline.co.uk/uk/) said that their profits had gone up since they outlawed smoking. Just 4% said that they had lost money.
The survey revealed that food sales in non-smoking pubs have risen by 80% on average.
Nearly half of the pubs questioned said that drinks profits had increased by 37% on average, while a third said that drinks profits had stayed the same.
Between 5 and 10% of pubs in England and Wales have already banned smoking ahead of next summer's legislation outlawing lighting up in public buildings.
Punch Taverns, which has more than 9,000 pubs, started to introduce no-smoking zones nearly three years ago. Today, 70 pubs are smoke-free
Francis Patton, the customer services director at Punch, told The Times: "Too many people are looking at the smoking ban as a threat, but we know this is a huge opportunity.
"The smoking ban is a great opportunity to get new customers (who want to eat) into pubs and also to keep people there who go regularly. Today, 90% of pubs have an outdoor area, often with heating and umbrellas."
By Daniel Thomas
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