Labour is considering introducing a ban on smoking in public places if they win the next election, a report suggests.
Labour insist that a final decision on a ban has not been made
According to draft manifesto policy documents obtained by the Guardian the ban is being discussed to protect the health of children and young people.
A Labour spokesman confirmed that the idea was being considered, but insisted that no decision has yet been taken.
The report comes as the British Medical Association (BMA) called for such a ban to be introduced across the UK.
And it comes as scientists claim that passive smoking could be twice as harmful as previously feared.
Prime Minister Tony Blair earlier this month said the government was considering a ban and would reach a conclusion in the "next few months".
Mr Blair said: "You have got to have some balanced decision making in this and it's a difficult balance."
He hinted the decision might ultimately be left to local councils to decide whether to enforce a ban in their areas.
The issue could provoke divisions within Labour. Health Secretary John Reid has already voiced concern that medical groups want to ban smoking to reduce the number of poorer people smoking.
Dr Reid earlier this year said: "All I say is be careful, please be careful that we don't patronise people.
"As my mother would put it, people from those lower socio-economic categories have very few pleasures in life and one of them they regard as smoking."
New research by London's St George's and Royal Free hospitals claims that people exposed to passive smoke have a 50-60% increased risk of heart disease.
The deputy chairman of the BMA Board of Sciences called for smoking to be prohibited in public places and the workplace at the BMA's annual conference.
Dr Peter Maguire told delegates in Llandudno: "The British government needs to have courage and follow the lead of Ireland, New York and Norway.
"I have seen that the ban on smoking in public places in Ireland has not affected business - business is booming there. Smoke free places mean life not death."
The Labour policy document discusses various health measures, including a clamp down on binge drinking and a ban on advertising junk food to children, according to the Guardian.
The newspaper claims the section on smoking concludes: "The need to
protect young people and children is seen as of paramount importance."
A spokesman for the Labour Party stressed that no final decision had been made.
He said: "The draft document reflects the concerns
raised by party members on this issue, but does not draw definitive
"Smoking in public places is an issue the party is discussing, but hasn't
decided upon yet."
Smoking in the work place has been outlawed in the Republic of Ireland since March this year.
Dr Reid told BBC 2's Daily Politics on Wednesday that consultations had been running for the last three months on tackling smoking, obesity and sexually-transmitted infections.
He said: "I've ruled nothing in and nothing out. You will find out what we have decided in about October when the White Paper comes out."