The majority of people are in favour of a smoking ban on Brighton beach and think the plans should be considered for other British resorts.

Many of those questioned (48%) said they thought stopping people lighting up would make traditional seaside towns more attractive places to visit and one in five (19%) said they would even travel further to visit a no-smoking beach.

But just under a third (31%) of the 2,000 adults polled said they feel Brighton and Hove City Council's proposals are a step too far. One in 10 (9%) said a smoking ban would speed the decline of seaside towns by putting smokers off.

While 57% said they would like it to happen on more of Britain's beaches, even more (60%) said they think smoking should be banned in playgrounds, 45% said they did not want to see it in outdoor restaurants and more than a third (36%) are in favour of a ban in parks.

But the nationwide survey, which was commissioned by the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor Service, found that people worry more about how they look on the beach (42%) than the possibility of breathing in cigarette smoke (17%).

Medical director Dr Nitin Shori said: "There does appear to be public support for smoking bans on Britain's beaches - although more people say they are concerned about sunburn, litter, rowdy behaviour and how they look on the beach, than breathing in second-hand cigarette smoke."

Brighton and Hove City Council has begun a 12-week public consultation to gauge people's views on the idea.

If the proposals go ahead, it is believed it would make the seaside city the first in Britain to ban people from lighting up on the shore.