Punch Taverns is expected to unveil a drop in profits on Thursday as the impact of the smoking ban starts to hit home.
According to Scotland on Sunday, Punch's year-end results which will be unveiled on Thursday, will report a slip in pre-tax profits from the expected £285m to £279m.
Britain's largest pub company has already warned that full-year profits are expected to be 2% to 3% lower in the wake of the poor summer weather but one analyst told the paper that there was a "feeling now the real effects of the smoking ban will kick in".
The unnamed analyst said that while there had been a honeymoon period during the summer people were beginning to realise "the smoking ban in reality is a bit of a drag".
By Christopher Walton