Introducing a total smoke-free policy in prisons is not without problems
Successful public health campaigns have contributed to reducing daily smoking rates in the general Australian population from 24% in 1991 to 13% in 2013.1 However, this reduction has not been mirrored in prisons, where no downward trend is apparent and the rate remains stubbornly high at around 84%.2 High rates of community smoking persist in groups over-represented in the criminal justice system — the mentally ill (32% of current smokers had a 12-month mental disorder, compared with 16% of non-smokers),3 Indigenous people (44% of Indigenous v 16% of non-Indigenous Australians)4 and illicit drug users (37%).1
- 1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. National Drug Strategy Household Survey: detailed report, 2013. Canberra: AIHW, 2014. (Drug statistics series No. 28. Cat. No. PHE 183.) http://aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129549848 (accessed Jul 2015).
- 2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The health of Australia’s prisoners 2012. Smoking. Canberra: AIHW, 2013. http://www.aihw.gov.au/prisoner-health/smoking (accessed Jul 2015).
- 3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 4326.0 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: summary of results, 2007. Canberra: ABS, 2008. http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/6AE6DA447F985FC2CA2574EA00122BD6/$File/43260_2007.pdf (accessed Aug 2015).
- 4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s health 2014. Canberra: AIHW, 2014. (Australia’s health series No. 14. Cat. No. AUS 178.) http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129548150 (accessed Aug 2015).
- 5. Kennedy SM, Davis SP, Thorne SL. Smoke-free policies in US prisons and jails: a review of the literature. Nicotine Tob Res 2015; 17: 629-635.
- 6. Cropsey KL, Kristeller JL. The effects of a prison smoking ban on smoking behavior and withdrawal symptoms. Addict Behav 2005; 30: 589-594.
- 7. Lord K. Prison riot: “Significant damage” done to Melbourne jail; inquiry ordered, Premier Daniel Andrews says. ABC News 2015; 1 Jul. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-01/riot-at-melbourne-remand-centre-over/6585456 (accessed Jul 2015).
- 8. Proescholdbell SK, Foley KL, Johnson J, Malek SH. Indoor air quality in prisons before and after implementation of a smoking ban law. Tob Control 2008; 17: 123-127.
- 9. Pezzino G, Remington PL, Anderson H, et al. Impact of a smoke-free policy on prisoners in Wisconsin, United States. Tob Control 1992; 1: 180-184.
- 10. Bock B, Lopes CE, van den Berg JJ, et al. Social support and smoking abstinence among incarcerated adults in the United States: a longitudinal study. BMC Public Health 2013; 13: 859.
- 11. van den Berg JJ, Bock B, Roberts MB, et al. Cigarette smoking as an expression of independence and freedom among inmates in a tobacco-free prison in the United States. Nicotine Tob Res 2014; 16: 238-242.
- 12. Thibodeau L, Jorenby DE, Seal DW, et al. Prerelease intent predicts smoking behavior postrelease following a prison smoking ban. Nicotine Tob Res 2010; 12: 152-158.
- 13. Lincoln T, Tuthill RW, Roberts CA, et al. Resumption of smoking after release from a tobacco-free correctional facility. J Correct Health Care 2009; 15: 190-196.
- 14. Clarke JG, Stein LA, Martin RA, et al. Forced smoking abstinence: not enough for smoking cessation. JAMA Intern Med 2013; 173: 789-794.
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