Smokers' lobby group Forest has called for amendments to the smoking ban in Scotland ahead of the fifth anniversary of its introduction tomorrow (26 March).
The group wants pubs and clubs to have the option of providing separate, well-ventilated smoking rooms. It is also calling for a relaxation on the regulations around smoking shelters so that smokers can light up in greater comfort all year round.
"Other European countries have found a sensible compromise ranging from licensed smoking premises to exemptions for small or drink-only bars," said director Simon Clark, who blames the ban for the closure of pubs across Scotland.
"Total pub losses in England, Scotland and Wales since the introduction of smoking bans in all three countries are in excess of 5,500. Scotland alone has lost over 700 pubs since the introduction of the ban in March 2006.
"This cannot be allowed to continue. Pubs and clubs are the heart of many rural and urban communities and their loss is having a serious impact on jobs and many people's social lives.
"At the very least the regulations on outdoor smoking shelters should be relaxed so people can smoke outside in a warm and comfortable environment all year round."
Clark added: "For the sake of our local communities, the Scottish Government must review the impact of the smoking ban and consider amendments to this unnecessarily harsh piece of legislation."