Wales aims to introduce a ban on smoking in enclosed public places from 2 April, 2007, stealing a march on England.
Although Scotland has already introduced a ban, England is not expected to follow suit until July 2007.
The Welsh Assembly has been a longtime supporter of a full ban and voted in favour of one back in May 2005. However, it had to wait for the Health Bill this summer to gain Royal Assent in Parliament before gaining the executive powers required to move the process forward.
A consultation, ending next month, is currently being carried out with the regulations governing the ban set to go through several assembly committees and plenary sessions (full meeting of the Assembly).
First Minster Rhodri Morgan said: "The risks of second-hand smoke have been known for some time. If all the legislation goes through Assembly procedures as expected Wales will have a ban on smoking in all enclosed public places from 2 April 2007."
Chief medical officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell, said the introduction of a workplace ban would save a predicted 400 smoking-related deaths a year among non-smokers.
By Chris Druce