An appeal against a High Court ruling that bans smoking in high security psychiatric hospitals has been rejected by law lords in London.

The case comes after two patients at Rampton, near Retford, Nottinghamshire, began a legal battle on the grounds that the ban imposed by the NHS violated their human rights to a private life and freedom from discrimination.

But the Appeal Court said the right or freedom to smoke was not covered by the European Convention on Human Rights and that Nottinghamshire Healthcare trust’s non-smoking policy was lawful.

Lord Clarke, the Master of the Rolls, said the smoke-free policy was to protect and improve the health of staff, patients, visitors and contractors at all high security psychiatric hospitals, such as Broadmoor and Ashworth.

The policy also aims to create an environment that would make it easy for smokers to give up their habit.

Lord Clarke said: “We do not think that there is any real distinction between banning alcohol and banning smoking in Rampton.”

He added that a complete ban was justified in appropriate circumstances, pointing to strong evidence of the dangers of smoking both to smokers and those around them.