The proposed smoking ban in Brighton and Hove’s beaches and in parks could also be extended to the outside of pubs and restaurants.
Any ban would not be enforceable by law. But the council is keen to find out whether the public have an appetite for further smoke-free eating and drinking.
If so, officials are likely to work with pub and restaurant owners and operators to encourage them to bring in their own extra restrictions.
Councillor Dan Yates, who chairs the Brighton and Hove Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “We wanted to see what people’s attitudes were to smoking where people are eating and drinking as we do not have any information on this.
“Currently the inside of pubs and restaurants are legally smoke-free but not outside areas.
“We would certainly not be looking at any additional compulsory smoking restrictions to business, other than the existing smoking ban.
“But depending on the results of the consultation, we may want to work with businesses to encourage smoke-free outdoor areas on a voluntary basis.”
Dozens of pubs and restaurants have created outdoor areas specifically for smokers since the introduction of the statutory smoking ban in indoor public places in 2007.
And Nick Mosley, managing director of the Brighton and Hove Food and Drink Festival, said any further smoking ban could have a “significant” effect on the city’s bars, pubs and clubs.
He said: “The vast majority of hospitality businesses – and their patrons – are responsible in enforcing the current smoking regulations in public places.
“Whilst reducing the number of people smoking, and keeping smoking away from children, is obviously desirable, I can only see this working on a venue-by-venue voluntary basis.
“Whilst restaurants are on the whole already smoke free, enforced legislation may have a significant impact on some bars, pubs and clubs in the city.”
The consultation is due to end on Tuesday 13 October.