We’ve all heard and experienced the many benefits of electronic cigarettes, but this week a new story emerged with some promising information about how e-cigs could change the prison system. After offering e-cigs to inmates in eastern Tennessee, prison officials report that the results are overwhelmingly positive. So far, there has been a decline in fighting among prisoners and the problem of tobacco contraband is rapidly disappearing.
A Tennessee sheriff reported that electronic cigarettes are causing positive changes in the prisons. Inmates can purchase disposable e-cigs for $10 and each e-cig lasts as long as two packs of analog cigarettes. The battery operated electronic cigarettes do not require matches or a lighter so monitoring smokers is not as worrisome. The e-cigs are specifically designed for a prison setting and they cannot be disassembled or converted into weapons. As an extra safeguard, the prison requires inmates to turn in used disposable ecigs before they can purchase new ones.
Green County Sheriff Steve Burns first approved e-cigs for local inmates in August. Since that time, there has been a steady decline in fighting among inmates and guards are finding less conflict surrounding contraband. Even thought the prison system doesn’t receive much monetary profit from selling e-cigs, the peace they provide is well worth making vaping gear available to prisoners.
Over the past decade, some prisons have moved to a tobacco-free policy in hopes of reducing health care expenses. The widespread bans resulted in large black markets across prisons where inmates would buy and sell cigarettes as contraband. Electronic cigarettes seem to solve this issue by giving prisoners access to nicotine in a controlled manner. There is no need to participate in the black market when e-cigs offer nicotine legally.
At this point, only a limited number of prison facilities are offering electronic cigarettes to prisoners. Yet with such promising results, we hope that other facilities will soon take note and begin selling e-cigarettes to inmates too. E-cigs are a perfect compromise for prisons that have trouble controlling tobacco contraband and inmates that will do practically anything for some nicotine.
Do you think prisoners should be allowed to use e-cigarettes?