Darent Valley hospital
© The Sun
A hospital has said it could ban people from receiving non-emergency medical care if they are caught smoking or vaping on its grounds and refuse to stop.

Bosses at Kent's Darent Valley Hospital extended a smoking crackdown to patients and visitors after banning staff from lighting up in early August.

Designated smoking areas have been abolished, while specialist anti-smoking wardens have started patrolling the grounds during the first week. Anyone who refuses to stop smoking when asked by a warden will be issued with a yellow card.

If they continue to smoke after that, the hospital revealed it could block them from receiving any non-emergency treatment.

In August it was revealed that chief executive Susan Acott wanted to clamp down on smokers and vapers to promote healthy behaviour and protect others from passive smoking.

At the time, she said the ban was not being brought in "to be awkward"...the hospital simply wanted to discourage smoking and help people break the habit.

She said: "I am hoping most people will understand why we are doing it and will be reasonable about it, and will walk further away from the hospital or wait until they get in their cars.

The clampdown has been met with mixed reactions from patients, but since it came into force on Monday, wardens tasked with enforcing the ban are said to have found people "very co-operative and responsive".

Despite some viewing e-cigarettes and vaping as a healthier alternative, the hospital has said there is not enough evidence to prove it and has banned those too.

Patients and visitors are said to have been "co-operative" so far