Post-implementation perspectives on smokefree prison policy: a qualitative study with staff and people in custody

Brown, A., Mitchell, D. and Hunt, K. (2021) Post-implementation perspectives on smokefree prison policy: a qualitative study with staff and people in custody. European Journal of Public Health, (doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckab075) (PMID:34448834) (Early Online Publication)

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Background: A comprehensive smokefree prison policy (SFPP) was introduced in Scottish prisons from November 2018, reflecting concern about inequalities in occupational exposures to second-hand smoke (SHS) and tobacco-related harms among people in custody (PiC). We aimed to address a gap, whereby few studies have sought to understand SFPP from the perspectives of people living and working in prisons. Methods: As part of a comprehensive evaluation, focus groups and interviews with staff (n = 99) and interviews with PiC (n = 23) were conducted 6–9 months post-implementation of SFPP in Scotland. Data were analysed using the framework approach. Results: Our study found that new restrictions on smoking had been widely accepted by PiC, after a period of adjustment which was less troublesome than participants had anticipated. Benefits of the SFPP for the safety and comfort of staff and PiC who were no longer exposed to SHS, and additionally for the health of PiC who were now smoking-abstinent, were widely acknowledged. Drawbacks of the SFPP, such as difficulties managing without tobacco and use of alternatives (e.g. e-cigarettes and changes in use of illegal drugs), were also reported. Contraband tobacco was not reported to be a major problem following prisons becoming smokefree. Conclusions: The findings strengthen evidence that SFPPs can be implemented without causing major disruption and highlight the need for removal of tobacco to be underpinned by careful planning, partnership working and ensuring the availability of support for smokers. Experiences from Scotland may be of interest and some comfort, internationally for jurisdictions considering smoke-free rules in prisons.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hunt, Professor Kathryn and Brown, Ms Ashley
Authors: Brown, A., Mitchell, D., and Hunt, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:European Journal of Public Health
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1464-360X
Published Online:27 August 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in European Journal of Public Health 2021
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
304677Evaluating graduated progress towards and impacts of the implementation of indoor smoke free prison facilities in Scotland (TIPS)Helen SweetingNational Institute for Health Research (NIHR)05571_NIHR 15/55/44_TIPSHW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit