Health officials have urged Brighton's cafes and restaurants to ban smoking on their premises.
The Brighton and Hove Primary Care Trust has suggested smoke-free zones should become standard rather than the exception.
The body, which is responsible for trying to improve residents' health, has still to win the support of Brighton and Hove City Council for a ban.
Chef Anthony Sturge, whose father died of lung cancer, said outlawing smoking had hit his restaurant hard at first.
He said: "We made a decision to go non-smoking and we lost a hell of a lot of customers through it because they felt that a right had been taken away from them.
"Now word has gone round but it's taken a year to build the business back up - people come because it is non-smoking now."
He called on the council to ban smoking in all public places.
Simon Clark, of pro-smoking group Forest, said it seemed unlikely the council would go that far.
What people want
"We are a long way away from going down the Californian route or even the New York route," he said.
He said 80% of UK companies already imposed a partial or full ban on smoking, which left only bars and restaurants for people who did wish to smoke.
Matthew Keegan, a barman in Brighton and himself a smoker, said: "I'm not entirely convinced it's either a good thing or that it will work.
"We continually have to revert to a smoking restaurant because people do generally want to smoke before, during and after their dinner."
He said smoking should be banned in places like hospitals and libraries but people had a choice where they socialised.
"We run a business that is successful partly because people can come in and drink and smoke - that is what people want," he said.