The decision to ban smoking in Scottish prisons is not expected to go down well with the inmates. According to studies prisoners rely on cigarettes more heavily than the general population. The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) claims that the second hand smoke that staff, visitors and the inmates themselves are exposed to is unacceptable.
This was announced as the prison service published a study that measured the prisons staff’s exposure to the secondhand smoke it was called, “The most comprehensive study in the world”. It was indicated by TIPS (The Tobacco in Prisons Study) that when on duty, about ⅔ of non-smoking prison staff are exposed to smoke. The research was carried out by the University of Glasgow and also the University of Aberdeen. The study was also published for the Annals of work Exposure and Health journal. Colin McConnell, CEO of the SPS went on record to say “It is not acceptable that those in our care and those who work in our prisons should be exposed to secondhand smoke”
However, there are possible repercussions. Several prison reform organizations have come forward to voice their concerns about how banning smoking from prisons could lead to violence and contraband trade activities. Peter Dawson the director of the Prison Reform Trust said “A sensible and considered approach to smoking in prisons would leave prisoners with a choice-at least to smoke outside, If this is not part of the Scottish Government’s plans, there has to be proper support while people give up. Not just smoking cessation aids, but increased vigilance for signs of distress that could easily turn into self harm or worse.
The Scottish Prison Service replied to Peter Dawsons concerns by stating that prisoners will be offered help to quit smoking before the ban is implemented. Prisons in Ireland and the Isle of Man announced that vaping products could be made available for sale in their prisons.