Smoking Ban in Prisons
With many prisons in the UK now enforcing the smoking ban, inmates are finding it hard to cope. The news of the smoking bans caused numerous riots across the prison population in the UK, including HMP Leicester and Walton Prison in Liverpool. It has been a difficult and dangerous time for prison staff and inmates alike.
The smoking ban came fully into force in March 2018, with a few crown prisons being exempt, although this is due to change come August 2018. The matter is still under review but non-smoking prisoners and prison staff are keen to keep the ban in place.
Alternative Options for Prisoners
It has become very apparent that prison officers and wardens need to make alternative arrangements for the smoking population in their prisons. The smoking ban has been a lot more effective in those prisons where inmates have access to nicotine replacement methods, and support from staff, before the withdrawal of traditional cigarettes.
When the ban was first introduced, there were reports of prisoners cutting up nicotine patches and smoking them with rolled up pages from books because their need for ‘the burn’ was not being addressed. With many prison shops now selling e-liquids and allowing the use of E-cigarettes, this craving for has been significantly reduced.
Quitting smoking is a very difficult thing to do, and prisoners reportedly use their cigarettes as a way to relieve the boredom of being locked up. By taking this away and not offering an alternative, prisons leave themselves open to unrest.
The NHS has been working closely with some prison services to help introduce methods to reduce the number of prisoners who smoke. You can read more on this at Vaping Post.
Why Allow Vaping in Prisons
Many inmates enter the prison system as a drug addict, and the use of traditional cigarettes was often a way to calm them down and help with withdrawals and cravings. The use of E-Cigarettes is proving to offer the similar benefits. Thereby helping to wean some addicts off of their illegal drug habit.
The use of Vaping in Prisons is also helping those prisoners who suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental health issues as it provides a calming effect, much like a cigarette, without the risks to health associated with smoking.
Vaping in prisons provides a safer, healthier alternative to the smoking population and the non-smoking population. It is a way to provide something that prisoners have used for years, the cigarette, without causing issues to other people’s health.
Benefits of Vaping in Prisons
Studies show that vaping affords people a higher chance of quitting smoking than most methods of nicotine replacement therapies as it gives a similar satisfaction to burning a cigarette.
Vaping does not carry the risk of second-hand smoke exposure, thereby reducing the health risks of passive smoke.
Also, the prisoners using E-Cigarettes will significantly reduce the risk to their own health. The chances of heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory issues are just some of the benefits of quitting smoking. This, in turn, will put less of a strain of the prison hospital services and the cost to the government, therefore to the taxpayer, of treating those prisoners with health issues caused by smoking.
There have been many reports of the troubles caused by the ban on smoking in prisons, including this one in The Metro and many other national newspapers. It has also been reported that prisons that allow their inmates to vape in their cells have considerably reduced this risk. It has enabled prisoners to cope in much the same way as smoking did.