• June 12, 2024

Prison isn't working

 Prison isn't working

Australians in prison need better support than they are currently getting to help them quit smoking tobacco and improve their long-term health, according to a story on theconversation.com. They deserve the same quitting services as those available in the community.
Smoking has been banned in all prisons in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales since 2015. South Australia is due to introduce such a ban in 2019, while smoking is still permitted in prison cells in Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.
The Conversation story said that smoking bans had been well received by most Australian prisoners, with most saying they wanted to stay off cigarettes.
However, besides making nicotine lozenges available for purchase (and patches before that), Australian prison or health authorities had not implemented any formal program to help people in prison quit smoking, or to stay off cigarettes when they were released.
The story said that about 74 percent of people entering the prison system were smokers. This was partly because groups who smoked at higher rates in the community – such as people who were financially poor and disadvantaged, who identified as Indigenous, or who experienced mental-health or substance-use disorders – were all overrepresented in prisons.
But despite not having access to regular cigarettes while incarcerated, 94 percent of former prisoners resumed the habit on release, and many went on to develop smoking-related illnesses.
Simply providing nicotine lozenges wasn’t enough to change the entrenched behaviour of long-term smokers.