Smoking Could be Banned in UK Prisons

    September 21, 2013

A smoking ban has been proposed for prisons in the U.K., and several prisons in the U.K. will participate in a pilot program to see how inmates respond to such a ban. The U.K. Ministry of Justice announced the program on Friday that will ban smoking and all other tobacco products from selected jails. The proposal comes after non-smokers have complained about secondhand smoke.

“We are considering banning smoking across the prison estate and as part of this are looking at possible sites as early adopters,” said a spokesperson at the Ministry of Justice. Approximately 80 percent of prisoners smoke, and there is a fear of legal action on the behalf of non-smokers if something isn’t done. If officials are pleased with how the smoking ban works at the selected prisons, all prisons in the U.K. could be under the smoking ban within the year.

The smoking ban comes at a cost to the taxpayers, though. The prisons will provide nicotine patches for those who have to quit smoking, which will cost the taxpayers an estimated £11 million. According to Daily Mail, officials are afraid of a lawsuit if they don’t offer assistance in quitting smoking. Drug-addicted prisoners were awarded £11,400 each in 2008 after they were forced to go cold turkey without any help.

Prison guards are concerned that a smoking ban will cause riots, which would make their jobs even more dangerous. Officials have acknowledged that the ban “could cause disturbances,” but haven’t yet mentioned how they plan to deal with that. Many Twitter users think that a smoking ban in prisons will only lead to trouble. What do you think about a prison smoking ban? Respond below.

Image via Wikimedia Commons