Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

Smoking ban gets prisoners moving

Prisoners have taken up exercise, carrot sticks and dried nuts since a nationwide smoking ban at prisons began.

In the first two months of the ban, which has cost the health system more than $1 million, only 30 prisoners from a total of about 8700 had been caught smoking, the Corrections Department said yesterday.

In the same period, 353 items of tobacco or smoking equipment were found in prison or being smuggled in.

Last month, for example 50 grams of tobacco were found stitched inside a pair of slippers being sent by mail to a Christchurch Women’s Prison inmate.

Prison Services spokesman Brendan Anstiss said yesterday that the smoking ban implementation had gone “very smoothly” and the vast majority of smoking prisoners had taken up nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches.

“This was complemented by the other support mechanisms on offer, like participating in exercise activities, choosing healthy food options such as carrot sticks or dried fruit or nuts and relying on the support of fellow prisoners and our health staff and calling the Quitline.”

Dr Anstiss said many prisoners had seen the ban as an opportunity to kick the habit, with good support on offer.

Health Ministry figures show the cost of nicotine replacement therapy was about $100,000 for the year ending June 2010, the year in which prisons began receiving a direct supply of nicotine replacement products, and about $950,000 in the year ending June 2011.

– The Dominion Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>