From today (30th November) all prisons in Scotland will be completely smoke-free. This significant move reflects real concerns locally and nationally about the welfare of both those in custody and those who work there.
NHSGGC has worked with HMP Barlinnie, HMP Greenock and HMP Low Moss to plan for the new legislation which sees the removal of all tobacco and smoking related items from prison.
Smoking still kills around one in five people in Scotland and reducing smoking prevalence remains a public health priority.
In Scotland, levels of smoking in prison as over four times higher than the national average.
Helping prisoners who smoke prepare has been crucial with the NHS Quit Your Way prisons team providing increased levels of stop smoking support for prisoners who wanted to stop smoking before the introduction of the ban. Prisoners also have the option of a rechargeable e-cigarette to help them adapt to a smoke-free environment.
NHSGGC’s Director of Public Health Linda de Caestecker said: “Providing a smoke free prison environment for people to live, work and visit has the potential to improve health and change smoking behaviour - not only in prison but also as people return to the community.”
“We recognise the challenge faced by those coming into prison who smoke, but we will provide the support they need during the time they are in prison”.
“Our staff have worked extremely well with SPS colleagues, to make sure this change is as smooth as possible for all concerned.
The change is also being welcomed by many prisoners, one of whom called Jim said: “I’m looking forward to a healthier future. I think when smoking isn’t allowed it’ll be easier to stay off the fags and stop for good. By the time I get out I’m hoping I won’t want to smoke and that’s got to be better for the weans.”
SPS chief Executive Colin McConnell said: “The percentage of people who smoke in prisons is much higher than the community at large. I fully understand how difficult it has been, and will continue to be, for many in our care to give up smoking and that is why we are committed to working alongside our partners in the NHS to provide every support possible to assist them.
“Having a smoke free prisons estate in Scotland will bring significant improvements to health, quality of life, and sense of wellbeing and assist in the reduction of health inequalities for all those in our care”.
If you are interested in stopping smoking please contact your local Quit Your Way team via 0800 84 84 84 or QuitYourWay.scot or text QUIT to 83434 for a free quit pack or CALL and a Quit Your Way advisor will call you back.