A new smoking policy is currently being finalized in Ireland that could see electronic cigarettes make their way to prisoners who are keen to stop smoking whilst incarcerated.
TheJournal.ie has published an article stating that a recent court case saw a lawyer contesting the case of an inmate who had requested an electronic cigarette as a cessation tool (after being advised by his doctor to quit smoking) but had been denied.
A spokesperson for the prison told the news site that the new policy will include electronic cigarettes, although the devices are currently unavailable for inmates to use. Irish prisons have a very strict code on smoking, with harsh restrictions dictating that inmates may only smoke after being given permission by a governor and only in their own cell and dedicated outdoor areas.
The spokesperson added further: “We’re currently looking at testing the device from a security point of view. We have to make sure that it can’t be used to smoke anything other than the vapour.” With this view in mind, the specifically approved devices will be introduced on a restricted basis; they will not be able to be brought into prisons, only purchased at the tuck shop.
UK prisons have already made e-cigarettes available, allowing the devices to be to purchased in prison tuck shops across England and Wales. This move is in accordance with the UK’s health service’s attempts to encourage smokers to make the switch from combustible cigarettes, which have now been phased out from prisons throughout the UK.
E-cig use linked to reduced violence
When electronic cigarettes were introduced in US county jails, local sheriffs told The New York Times that the introduction led to a reduced amount of violence amongst inmates. With this encouraging news from overseas coupled with the policies of the UK, Ireland’s new smoking policy is expected to be in place ‘in the near future’.