Tag: prison

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Judge: U.K. smoking ban applies in prison too

| March 6, 2015

A high court judge has ruled that the U.K public-places smoking ban must be enforced in state prisons despite the possibility of unrest this could provoke in jails throughout England and Wales. According to Justice Singh, the justice secretary misunderstood an exemption made in 2006 to health legislation that banned smoking in workplaces and enclosed public spaces. Although the government had argued that state prisons were exempt from smoke-free legislation because of their status as Crown premises, Justice Singh ruled that prison communal areas are subject to the laws, therefore the smoking ban must be extended to such locations.

The exemption in the 2006 Health Act indicated that smoking is allowed in enclosed public places where a person resides permanently or temporarily, which includes prisons, hotels and long-term care facilities. However, the exemption also states that these places should provide designated smoking rooms to avoid subjecting other residents and staff members to secondhand smoke. According to The Guardian, more than 80 percent of prisoners smoke, and the justice ministry fought for the exemption when the health legislation went through parliament—partly in response to warnings by prison governors and unions who said banning smoking in prisons could trigger turmoil among prisoners who use tobacco as currency as well as a legal stimulant.

To continue providing prisoners with access to nicotine—but also to protect nonsmoking prisoners and staff members from the dangers of secondhand smoke—three U.K. prisons now offer e-cigarettes, which are generally believed to be less harmful than their combustible counterparts. Prisoners are currently permitted to smoke combustible cigarettes in their prison cells—as long as the smoker is over the age of 18 and the door is closed—as well as in outside exercise yards, but they cannot use these products in communal spaces.

Justice Singh has postponed the implementation of the ban and granted the justice secretary time to appeal against the ruling.

Prison doesn’t work, not for quitters

| April 10, 2013

A new study has found that behavioral intervention provided to U.S. prison inmates who smoked before going to jail substantially increased their ability to remain smoke-free after release, according to a report by MedPage Today.

Most prisons in the U.S. are tobacco-free, with about 60 percent having total tobacco bans for staff and inmates, so most people entering the prison system are forced into abstinence.

Despite this, about 97 percent of prisoners who were smokers on being sent to prison return to smoking almost immediately upon release.

But three weeks after release, participants assigned to the behavioral intervention, known as Working Inside for Smoking Elimination (WISE), were 4.4 times more likely to refrain from smoking than those in a control group, according to Jennifer G. Clarke, MD, and colleagues at the Brown University Center for Primary Care and Prevention in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

In addition, in a multivariate analysis that controlled for factors such as age, ethnicity, and duration of smoking, the WISE participants were 6.6 times more likely to be smoke-free at three weeks, the researchers reported in their study, which was published online by JAMA Internal Medicine on April 8, that “forced smoking abstinence [was] not enough for smoking cessation.”