Canada's Prisons Say No Smoking

Published on July 16th, 2008 12:36

By the end of April Canada's federal prisons are set to go totally cheap cigarettes. The Correctional Service of Canada is ready to introduce ban smoking in prisons yards as well as anywhere on the grounds. Craig Jones, the national director of the John Howard Society, pointed out that while tobacco is socially frowned upon, it is still legal, and inhabitants are supposed to be allowed to take part in legal activities like any other Canadian, less the loss of freedoms they suffer due to imprisonment.

He added: "I personally think smoking is a dreadful habit, but it's one of the few pleasures, if I can put it that way, that their situation affords."

Cellblocks are consider to be healthy and safety places where work people, for example guards and other employers. Jason Godin, Ontario, president of the Union that represents guards, said: "Prisons are federal buildings and the anti-smoking provisions are the same as those that exist in any other government institution.

He noted: "Prisons are not different than any other federal workplace in the country."Jason Godin considers that ban smoking in prisons could reinforce the smoking ban that was recently introduced in Canada.

He noted that guards were at highest risk of exposure to second-hand smoke. But the smoking prohibition is in no way different than prohibiting consumption of other products, such as booze. Godin said: "Tobacco may be a legal substance on the street, but so is drinking alcohol, and we don't sell alcohol in our canteens."

Canada's federal prisons are not the first prisons where smoking ban was introduced, for example in Ontario prisons, including the Quinte Detention Centre in Napanee, went smoke-free in 2001, and are one of seven provinces whose jails are completely tobacco-free, although contraband cigarettes remain an issue for staff. The ban applies to guards as well as to inmates, and is aimed at protecting both from secondhand smoke. Prisoners who are smokers will be offered smoking-cessation services to encourage them to quit; about 80 percent of inmates in Canadian prisons smoke.

Chris Prince, a prisoner, noted: "I think it's a good idea because it gets us all healthier. It's good for inmates and guards."