Very little is known concerning the views and beliefs of psychiatric inpatients about smoking in hospital. We conducted a survey of inpatients from the forensic wards of a large independent psychiatric hospital using a structured interview to collect data about their views on smoking. Of 102 patients eligible to participate, 45 (44.1%) agreed to do so. Most participants (34, 75.6%) were current smokers. Most smokers thought it was just too difficult to give up smoking (25, 73.5%). They cited seeing staff and other patients smoking, as well as the smoky atmosphere on the ward, as barriers to quitting. The majority of participants (35, 77.8%) thought that staff should be allowed to smoke with patients. Smokers held more liberal views about smoking than non-smokers. A smaller proportion of non-smokers than smokers were happy with the hospital smoking policy, as reflected in the ward rules about smoking. The results of this survey suggest that a change in attitude and culture towards smoking may be needed in psychiatric units. Smokers should be regularly offered help and encouragement to quit. Psychiatric care staff should carefully consider whether their own smoking behaviour undermines their patients' attempts to stop smoking. More attention should be given to the views and needs of non-smokers.