Britain to ban smoking in prisons (Update)

Britain said Friday it was looking at banning smoking in prisons, despite fears of a backlash from prisoners who claim a cigarette is one of the few joys of life behind bars.

Smoking was banned in communal areas in British jails in 2007 as part of a national ban on smoking in public places.

But prisoners are still allowed to smoke in their cells and 80 percent of inmates indulge in the habit across England and Wales, according to the National Health Service (NHS).

Now ministers are looking at banning smoking altogether amid concerns about the health impact of the smoke on non-smoking staff and inmates.

A pilot scheme is being launched early next year in a number of jails in southwest England, with a full ban likely to be rolled out within 12 months, the Times newspaper reported.

"We are considering banning smoking across the prison estate and as part of this are looking at possible sites as early adopters," a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice confirmed.

Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers' Association, welcomed the move, which prison staff have campaigned for. He said it was necessary to avoid compensation claims for passive smoking.

But he admitted that implementing the ban could cause problems, telling the Times: "There is no pretending otherwise.

"It could cause disturbances but they have done it successfully in Canada and in young offender institutions in England and Wales.

"We will work with the ministry to make sure it works effectively."

Prisoners will be offered nicotine patches as a way of dealing with withdrawal symptoms, which it is feared may lead some inmates to violence, the Times said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Managing an ageing prison population

May 27, 2013

Identifying and addressing the physical, mental health and social care needs of ageing prisoners is vital to improve the UK's prison service, say Northumbria criminologists.

Recommended for you

Background TV can be bad for kids

1 hour ago

Parents, turn off the television when your children are with you. And when you do let them watch, make sure the programs stimulate their interest in learning.

Many kids with medicaid use ER as doctor's office: CDC

1 hour ago

(HealthDay)—Children covered by Medicaid, the publicly funded insurance program for the poor, visit the emergency room for medical care far more often than uninsured or privately insured youngsters, a U.S. ...

Warning: Birthdays can be bad for your health

2 hours ago

New research has found that birthday-related drinking is associated with upsurges in hospital admissions among young people. This study of drinking behaviour in Ontario, Canada is published online today in the scientific ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lurker2358
1 / 5 (2) Sep 20, 2013
If only the U.S. banned Cigarettes everywhere. I'd be glad. It would be a first step towards rational public policy.

Prisoners should not have any joys in life. They are in prison for punishment because they destroyed other people's lives. They aren't supposed to be on vacation or a smoke break, particularly since everyone else ends up paying for their healthcare and education.
depth12
1 / 5 (1) Sep 22, 2013
"If only the U.S. banned Cigarettes everywhere. I'd be glad. It would be a first step towards rational public policy.

Prisoners should not have any joys in life. They are in prison for punishment because they destroyed other people's lives. They aren't supposed to be on vacation or a smoke break, particularly since everyone else ends up paying for their healthcare and education. "

wow you have bouts of sanity sometimes. Must be some parts of the brain functioning alright sometimes. In your other posts you coming as a crazy person.