New research has found ministers' assertion that people in England and Wales do not support a full ban on smoking in public places is a myth.
The poll also found that 85% of those surveyed would visit bars and pubs more often if they became smoke-free.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), which commissioned the report, said pubic support was higher than in Ireland before that country introduced a ban in 2004.
ASH added that stubbing out smoking would be the only way to save 600 workers' lives a year ended by the effects of second-hand smoke.
ASH director Deborah Arnott said: "The idea that the public will not back an end to smoking in pubs and bars - where employees and customers are at most risk from second-hand smoke - is simply not true."
The Government is currently proposing to exempt pubs that do not serve prepared food from smoke-free legislation included in the Health Improvement and Protection Bill, largely on the grounds that there isn't full public support for a ban.
Consultation on the new bill ends on 5 September and it is expected to be laid before Parliament in November. The law will only affect operators in England, as Scotland is already pursuing a complete ban and Wales is to be given the power to legislate independently at a later date.