South England-based pub group Pubs 'N' Bars is one of the first pubcos to admit the smoking ban has probably hit trade since its introduction in July.
Seamus Murphy, chairman of the AIM-listed pub group, said like-for-like sales since July 1 had fallen by "approximately four per cent", and that the board "believes that [the ban] has initially had a negative impact on turnover".
However he added that it was "difficult to quantify, as last year the weather was significantly better".
Pubs 'n' Bars reported turnover for the six months to June 30 up 15.6 per cent to £8.87m, although it noted the increase was due to the acquisitions of the 25-strong Community Taverns in May and an earlier deal to buy Moorgate London, which had seven outlets.
Pre-tax profits dipped by 1.1 per cent to £541, 819, while the group's operating profits rose 8.9 per cent to £1.3m.
In a statement accompanying the group's half year results, Murphy said: "Having introduced external areas for accommodating smokers, we believe that any lost customers will begin to return over time once they have become used to the situation.
"Additionally, new customers who historically have not frequented pubs because of the smoke-filled environment, now have the opportunity to use our establishments."
Murphy aimed a swipe at alcohol retailing in supermarkets, noting "our major competition remains the supermarket groups which continue to sell alcoholic drinks at cut prices.
"Until this ceases, our communities will suffer from the effects of binge-drinking and its accompanying lawlessness."
Murphy said Pubs 'N' Bars intended to add to its existing 98-strong estate with more freehold pubs "once the effect of the smoking ban on profitability can be assessed".