Mental health patient loses bid to remove smoking ban at hospital

Mental health patient loses bid to remove smoking ban at hospital

A mental health patient in Melbourne has lost a bid to remove a smoking ban at a high security mental health hospital.

The man, who killed his mother 26 years ago, was arguing that the 'inhumane' smoking ban should be removed and claimed that his mental state might deteriorate. The man is unnamed for legal reasons and is an involuntary patient being treated for paranoid schizophrenia at the Thomas Embling Hospital in Melbourne. The hospital introduced a smoking ban in July of the previous year. The introduction of the smoking ban was a at the same time as the implementation of smoking bans at prisons throughout Victoria that caused large scale riots at the Ravenhall Remand Centre.

 The person had sued the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health that operated the hospital aiming to remove the ban on smoking at the facility. He argued that the health service did not have the authority to implement such a ban and said that it was a breach of human rights and did not comply with the Tobacco Act.

However, Supreme Court Judge Peter Riordan said that the ban had "not been imposed for punitive purposes but for health and rehabilitative purposes" and ruled in favour of the hospital. Judge Riordan also stated that it was in hospital's powers to enact such a ban.

Judge Riordan said, "Although the smoke-free policy is very likely to cause at least some distress to the plaintiff, it is a policy introduced for the purpose of protecting patients, staff and visitors from the known harmful effects of smoking. And I do not consider it to be inhumane to the hospital patients."