Smoking advocacy group Forest has called for a review of the smoking ban, and the introduction of smoking annexes in pubs, after a report it commisioned claimed the ban had decimated the trade.

The report commissioned by Forest on the tenth anniversary of the ban argues the policy has contributed to the closure of some 11,383 pubs in England over the past 10 years, particularly wet-led community pubs in poorer areas.

Figures obtained by Forest from CGA Strategy show a decline of 20.7% pubs since the smoking ban was introduced in 2007.

London has 2,034 fewer pubs than in 2006, North West England has lost 1,788, Yorkshire is down by 1,589 and the South East has a net loss of 1,013.

The biggest decline in pub numbers has been in the Midlands where there are 2,560 fewer pubs than before the smoking ban, a drop of 23.7 per cent.

While Forest accepts the fall in the number of pubs is not solely down to the ban, and part of a long-term trend and other factors such as the recession, the report found there was a clear acceleration in closures after it was enforced.

According to the report, ‘Road to Ruin? The impact of the smoking ban on pubs and personal choice’, many communities have lost important meeting places and social hubs, contributing to social isolation.

Report author, Rob Lyons, said: “The smoking ban has been a kick in the teeth for the traditional British boozer, especially in our urban inner cities. Ten years on from the introduction of this damaging policy the government should order a full review of the impact of the legislation and consider alternatives to the current comprehensive ban.”

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: “Allowing separate well-ventilated smoking rooms or relaxing the unnecessarily strict regulations on outdoor smoking areas would reignite freedom of choice and give publicans greater control over their business.

“Proposals to extend the smoking ban to outdoor areas including beer gardens will be fiercely resisted. Smoking is a legitimate activity and pubs must be allowed to accommodate adults who choose to smoke.”

While the report questions the evidence that second-hand smoke is harmful, anti-smoking group Ash says decades of research proves breathing in other people’s smoke is damaging to health.

In response to claims the ban has hurt the pub trade, an Ash spokesman said: “In fact, between March 2007 and March 2008, the number of premises with licenses to sell alcohol increased by 4,200.

“And following the introduction of the smoke free laws, more people reported that they went to the pub more often than reported they went less often.”

Ash said studies had showed British pubs “weren’t dying they were just adapting and evolving as they always have done”.

Association of Multiple Licensed Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls said there was “very little appetite for the reintroduction of smoking inside pubs” among members.