Smoking Ban in Scottish Prisons

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has announced a smoking ban in all prisons will be in place by the end of 2018.

Since 2006 there has been a general ban on smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces. Research by the University of Glasgow has determined the effect of second-hand smoke on prison staff as an “unacceptably high risk”. Smoking remains the biggest single cause of preventable ill-health and premature death in Scotland.

The Scottish Government is expected to fully support the smoking ban in light of it’s Tobacco Control Strategy to create the first ‘tobacco-free generation’ by 2034. England have successfully applied a smoking ban to more than half of prisons south of border.

Concerns have been raised about the level of support that will be offered to the 72% of prisoners who are addicted to tobacco. The battle to stop smoking may lead to an increase in tension and violence within prison, not to mention the inevitability of tobacco joining the illegal substance trade in and around prisons. Colin McConnell, the Chief Executive of SPS has said:

I fully understand how difficult it will be for many in our care to give up smoking – that is why we are committed to working alongside our partners in the NHS to provide every support possible to assist them.”

Tod & Mitchell question what is being done to tackle the more powerful addictions at play in Scottish prisons, such as illicit drugs. It is addictions such as these that place prison staff at risk of serious violence.