NHS grounds are to be completely smoke-free within two years, the Scottish Government has pledged.

The move will ban patients, visitors and staff from smoking around places like hospitals.

It builds on the smoking ban in public places, imposed seven years ago this week, according to Health Secretary Alex Neil.

"Creating smoke-free hospital grounds sends out a powerful message that every visit to our health service is an opportunity to promote and improve people's health," he said.

"We all know how unpleasant it can be to walk through a cloud of smoke in order to enter or leave a building. These measures will help to ensure that we create a healthier environment for people who use, visit and work in our health service.

"That is why we believe staff, patients and visitors will support and respect this decision and refrain from smoking until off-site."

NHS boards will be expected to implement and enforce smoke-free policies across their grounds by March 2015.

The measures will not apply to mental health facilities, which have an exemption to allow provision of designated smoking rooms under the original smoke-free legislation.

The original ban kicked in at 6am on March 26 2006, when it became an offence to light up in nearly every enclosed public place in Scotland.