The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has joined forces with other public health bodies in backing proposals for smoke free prisons. The CIEH played a leading role in campaigning for the introduction of smoke free legislation.
Since 2007, when the smoke free laws came into force, all premises
accommodating juvenile offenders have been required to be smokefree and
smoking has only been permitted in adult prisons by prisoners in their
own cells. Smoking is not permitted in any other parts of the prison
buildings and there is no exemption for prison officers and other staff.
Additionally, the Government has always expected prison governors to
exercise local controls to ensure that any prisoners who do not smoke
will have their own cell, or be placed in a cell with other non-smokers.
This has not always happened.
The CIEH argues that many prison cells are poorly ventilated and heavy
smoking can cause a severe build up of smoke which can affect the health
of both the prisoners and prison officers and other staff who provide
care for them. Some of these will be people who have asthma and other
respiratory illnesses, and women who are pregnant. It is not right for
smokers to smoke in places that damage other people’s health.
Commenting, Ian Gray, CIEH Principal Policy Officer, said: “The proposal
to introduce smoke free requirements through a series of early adopters
of this policy is a sensible way forward and can draw upon the
experience of the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles where smoke free
prisons already operate successfully.”
“I have carried out a survey of the mental health facilities in England
and the difficulties encountered there, especially in high security
units, are in many ways similar to prison environments. All mental
health units have been smoke free for over five years and we know of
some excellent models which can be shared with the prison service to
support their prisoners and staff whilst these necessary changes are