Hinchingbrooke Hospital has once again become a smoke-free zone.

On Monday, the Huntingdon hospital banned smoking from its entire site - reintroducing a ban that existed about two years ago.

The previous smoking ban was scrapped and a smoking shelter re-introduced close to the main entrance as the ban had proved difficult to enforce and led to confrontations between staff and smokers.

The shelter has now been removed and staff once again encouraged to enforce the no-smoking policy. Anyone caught smoking will be asked to stop and if they are a patient, their doctor or nurse will informed so they can be provided with suitable medication.

In addition, patients admitted to the emergency department will be offered nicotine patches to ensure they are comfortable during their stay.

Pasqualino Risi, the trust's head of facilities, said: "The dangers associated with smoking and second-hand smoke are very well known and as a health care organisation we are keen to protect patients, visitors and staff from these dangers. A smoke-free site will ensure that we provide an environment that promotes health and supports those who want to stop smoking.

"It's a fact that patients who give up smoking, recover more quickly, and have a better chance of staying well in the future so the trust is signposting smokers to seek the support of Camquit, Cambridgeshire's Stop Smoking Service.

"Camquit is already a visible presence in the main entrance on a regular basis offering free advice and information for those looking to quit smoking."

Claire-Adele Mead, Camquit coordinator, added: "The Camquit service from Cambridgeshire County Council is delighted that the hospital is protecting their staff, patients and visitors from the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke. We hope that it will encourage smokers to think about stopping smoking and increase their awareness of the support service which is available in the hospital and throughout Cambridgeshire."

INFORMATION: For more information on how to stop smoking, call Camquit on 0800 018 4304 or visit www.camquit.nhs.uk.