Cancer Council QLD welcomes ban on smokes in prison

CANCER Council Queensland has welcomed the ban which has seen correctional facilities across the state become smoke free.

The changes came into effect on Monday with the State Government claiming many prisoners had chosen to quit smoking ahead of the looming deadline.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said on Monday (May 05) the ban would be strictly enforced.

"Prison cells have been smoke free since 2008 and we are now extending that to all other areas of Queensland's correctional facilities," he said.

"It follows similar, successful smoke-free rollouts in other jurisdictions' prisons, including New Zealand and the Northern Territory.

"New South Wales, Victoria and the United Kingdom are also in the process of making their correctional facilities smoke free.

"This is for the health of our hard working corrective services staff as well as prisoners and it will reduce the cost of treating smoking-related health problems to Queensland taxpayers."

He said prisoners had been, and will continue to be, supported by a Department of Health guideline, Working Toward Smoke-Free Prison Implementation, which was developed by expert clinicians and includes the use of nicotine replacement therapy patches

Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said the ban was a step in the right direction.

"Research shows one in four prisoners suffer from chronic tobacco-related conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, with high risk of future cancer," she said.

"Prisoners comprise one of the most socially disadvantaged populations in Australia, with much higher rates of smoking than the Queensland population.

"While the rate of smoking in the general population has been steadily declining, sadly the decline has not been achieved in Queensland prisons."

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