NEW legislation banning smoking on hospital grounds and some other places comes into force today.

All hospitals grounds, school grounds, public playgrounds and other outdoor day-care and childminding sites in Wales are now required to be smoke-free.

The Welsh Government's minister for mental health and wellbeing said the new law – the first of its kind in the UK – would help smokers quit and discourage others from starting smoking. Anyone caught breaking the new law could be fined up to £100.

At two Gwent hospitals, technology will be used to help enforce the ban.

An audio-speaker system with a push-button pad is being installed at entrances throughout the newly-built Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran and the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.

The audio speakers will allow anyone who witnesses smoking on-site to anonymously press the button, which will then play a recorded message to remind people that smoking is not permitted.

The health board has also employed a team of enforcement officers to patrol its hospitals' grounds.

One member of the enforcement team, Matt Lloyd, said he had already begun speaking to smokers about the law.

The majority of smokers stopped smoking when he approached them, he added.

"I then remind them about our smoke-free environment policy and the new law," he said." If somebody refuses to stop smoking, I talk to them about why we have the policy and the law.

"If they are a patient, I can contact their ward manager who will offer them nicotine replacement therapy to help with cravings. It is everybody’s responsibility to support the smoke-free policy... to make sure we offer our staff, patients and visitors a safe and positive experience when using our NHS services.”

Eluned Morgan, the mental health and wellbeing minister, said the Welsh Government was "immensely proud" of the new law.

“The law will not only help smokers quit, but it will also discourage others from starting smoking in the first place," she said. "We’ve seen the impact of the indoor smoking ban and we hope this will be similarly successful.

“This legislation will benefit the health of future generations in Wales, as fewer children will be exposed to smoking and, we hope, fewer will take it up themselves.

“We need to do everything we can to combat the harmful effects of smoking. There are resources and support services available from Help Me Quit for those looking to give up smoking, and I hope our action will be the catalyst to a healthier, smoke-free Wales for years to come.”

The Welsh Government is planning further anti-smoking legislation for other settings.

Over the next year, and by March 1, 2022, smoking bedrooms in hotels and guest houses will be phased out, and self-contained holiday accommodation, such as cottages and caravans, will also become smoke-free.

l If you would like to quit smoking, access the NHS' free support service by calling 0800 085 2219 or visiting