Smoking 'falling out of favour'
Three quarters of people believe smoking is less socially acceptable than a year ago, a poll suggests.
The survey by the NHS Smoking Helpline also found over half of smokers are thinking about giving up the habit in the next 12 months.
The findings follow calls by doctors for smoking to be banned in public places - and a call from a medical journal for it to be banned completely.
A helpline spokeswoman said: "Attitudes to smoking seem to have shifted."
Last year saw bans on tobacco advertising and light and mild cigarette branding, new warnings on cigarette packets and TV adverts on the dangers of secondhand smoke.
The heads of 18 medical royal colleges recently called for smoking to be banned in public places, such as restaurants and pubs.
And an editorial in The Lancet medical journal called for a complete ban on the habit because of its effects on people's health.
But the government said while smoke-free places were ideal, the public appeared to have mixed feelings about the idea and a complete ban would be "extreme".
Over 1,300 adults were questioned in the survey for the NHS smoking helpline.
Four out of every five women questioned said they believed smoking was less socially acceptable than it was at the start of 2003.
Forty-three per cent said the warnings and advertising campaigns over the last year had made them more likely to quit.
Many said they had made smoking less attractive, appealing or socially acceptable.
Debbie Findlay, an advisor with the NHS Smoking Helpline, said: "General attitudes to smoking seem to have shifted, and a lot of people are contemplating giving up for 2004.
"It was good to find in our survey that most smokers are aware there is free help available on the NHS to help them give up.
"But nearly a quarter of men intend to go 'cold turkey' when quitting, which almost certainly dooms their attempt to failure. We found many men will refuse help for fear of appearing weak.
"They may think they should be strong enough to quit with willpower alone, but probably don't realise nicotine is as addictive as heroin."
Ian Willmore, from the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health, told BBC News Online: "People used to know it was bad for individuals, but more and more are now aware that passive smoking is bad for their health."
He added the perception of smoking was a significant factor in prompting people to quit - or deterring them from starting smoking in the first place.
"Warnings are important, advertising is important, but in addition, what is and isn't socially acceptable is very important too."