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Nicotine Tob Res. 2015 Jun;17(6):629-35. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntu225. Epub 2014 Dec 3.

Smoke-free policies in U.S. Prisons and jails: A review of the literature.

Author information

1
Biostatistics and Epidemiology, RTI International, Atlanta, GA; vnd2@cdc.gov.
2
Epidemiology Branch, Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Despite progress in limiting exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) in the United States, little is known about the impact of smoke-free polices in prisons and jails. SHS exposure in this setting may be great, as smoking prevalence among inmates is more than three times higher than among non-incarcerated adults. To inform the implementation of smoke-free policies, this article reviews the literature on the extent, nature, and impact of smoke-free policies in U.S. prisons and jails.

METHODS:

We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, EconLit, and Social Services Abstracts databases. We examined studies published prior to January 2014 that described policies prohibiting smoking tobacco in adult U.S. correctional facilities.

RESULTS:

Twenty-seven studies met inclusion criteria. Smoke-free policies in prisons were rare in the 1980s but, by 2007, 87% prohibited smoking indoors. Policies reduced SHS exposure and a small body of evidence suggests they are associated with health benefits. We did not identify any studies documenting economic outcomes. Non-compliance with policies was documented in a small number of prisons and jails, with 20%-76% of inmates reporting smoking in violation of a policy. Despite barriers, policies were implemented successfully when access to contraband tobacco was limited and penalties were enforced.

CONCLUSION:

Smoke-free policies have become increasingly common in prisons and jails, but evidence suggests they are not consistently implemented. Future studies should examine the health and economic outcomes of smoke-free policies in prisons and jails. By implementing smoke-free policies, prisons and jails have an opportunity to improve the health of staff and inmates.

PMID:
25475088
PMCID:
PMC4634865
DOI:
10.1093/ntr/ntu225
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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