If smokers note that more people are asking them not to smoke around them, they can blame nationwide attitudes.

Current survey evidence indicates that antismoking sentiment may be building to an eventual prohibition of smoking in all public places. Some medical experts claim that nonsmokers suffer a risk when exposed for a prolonged period to the cigarette smoking of others.

The latest survey shows the following:

Two respondents in three favor special areas for smokers in public places, while 16 per cent favor a ban on smoking in these places. Only 10 per cent favor no restrictions.

The public's antismoking position is also seen in its views on increasing taxes on cigarettes, banning cigarette ads and a proposal banning the sale of cigarettes.

Four in 10 think cigarette taxes should be increased; about one-third favor a ban on cigarette advertising and one-fifth would like to see the sale of cigarettes banned.

Although smokers are less inclined to take a hard line on cigarettes, there is support for tougher restrictions.

Only 16 per cent think there should be no restrictions on smoking in public places.

One smoker in five thinks cigarette taxes should be increased.

Three smokers in 10 would like to see a ban on cigarette advertising.

One in nine favors a ban on the legal sale of cigarettes.

The most recent Gallup audit of cigarette smoking, while indicating a gradual decline in the number of smokers since 1972, shows the proportion of smokers today to be at about the same level as in 1974 and 1973. Four in 10 (38 per cent) in the latest audit said they smoked at least one cigarette in the previous seven days.

Almost three smokers in four believe their habit is associated with lung cancer.