Information about public attitudes to the restriction of smoking in licensed premises could provide an impetus for a campaign to address the failure of the industry to improve the health of its employees and the public. A probability sample of 816 people was surveyed to determine community attitudes to the introduction of bans on smoking in licensed premises. A total ban on smoking was supported by 20 per cent and provision of special smoking areas by 65 per cent, and 15 per cent wanted no bans. More-educated people, white-collar workers, nonsmokers and those who went to licensed premises less than weekly were more likely to support bans than were the less educated, blue-collar workers, smokers, and those who went to licensed premises at least weekly. The less educated, smokers and those who went to licensed premises at least weekly were most likely to perceive that the introduction of smoking bands would reduce their patronage of licensed premises. Nonsmokers and those with more than 12 years of education were more likely to report that their patronage would increase if bands were introduced than were smokers and the less educated. The introduction of bans on smoking in licensed premises would result in only a small loss of patronage after accounting for potential increases from supporters of bans. The effect of the bans is likely to be felt most strongly among the less educated, smokers and regular patrons.