A Melbourne woman is taking legal action to fight for her right to smoke in hospital.

A Melbourne woman is taking legal action to fight for her right to smoke in hospital.

Self-confessed smoker Indigo Daya insists the Alfred Hospital's 100 per cent smoke-free policy is a breach of her human rights.

She is not exceptionally proud of her habit and refused to smoke on camera while being filmed for an exclusive report by 7News Melbourne because she does not want to promote it.

But she does want to light up on hospital grounds, and she's fighting the Alfred Hospital in VCAT to win that right.

She is arguing it is a human rights' violation for the hospital to ban mentally-ill people from smoking in courtyards when they are involuntarily committed.

"I think it creates an enhanced level of desperation in people who are already feeling desperate," Indigo said.

"That's not to say that quitting cigarettes is not a good thing, but there's a time and a place for everything. And when you're in the midst of a crisis, I would say that's not the right time."

Many patients are suicidal and Indigo says that is exactly how she felt.

"There were times I was literally sobbing and shaking, I was so desperate for a cigarette," she said.

"It certainly didn't help me with in any way with the stress I had at the time."

Isabell Collins, of Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council, said: "Given that distress, forcing people to stop smoking at that point in time, we think is cruel and inhumane."

The Austin Hospital recently reversed its 100 per cent smoke-free policy for mentally-ill patients. It points out the Tobacco Act has a clause exempting mental health facilities from workplace cigarette bans.

Box Hill Hospital has also modified its ban.

The Alfred says it won't comment while the case is before VCAT.

Anti-smoking campaigners support the Alfred.

Fiona Sharkie, of Quit Victoria, said: "All workers and all patients and all visitors to hospitals have the right to a smoke-free environment."

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