Prisons all over united sates are increasingly restricting tobacco smoking. In the United States, 24 states prohibit indoor smoking whereas California, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Kentucky prohibit smoking on the entire prison grounds, both indoors and outdoors. Smoking bans are observed over almost all state prisons. E cigarette as of now doesn’t fall in the smoking policy of prison facility.

There are 24 states which prohibit smoking on prison grounds, both indoors and outdoors. The introduction of smoking bans generates occasional protest among inmates and the prison departments. It is often said that restriction on smoking leads to widespread non obedience from inmates and rise to illegal tobacco purchase by jail inmates. Now after year of banning tobacco cigarettes, two Illinois countries are permitting inmates at jail to use electronic cigarettes while they are on the prison grounds.

The American lung association says that it is deeply troubled by the use of e cigarettes as a money maker for the jails. Whether e cigarette can expand its horizons and reach state prison system is yet very uncertain.

In early august, Russell county jail put e cigarette on sale for inmates at $18 each and later in September White County Jail which has a smoking ban since 2002 allowed sale of electronic cigarette where prisoners can buy e cigarette for  $13.50 each. The sheriff of both the prison facilities gave two prime reasons for allowing sale of electronic cigarette. The first was to calm the inmates as inmates have a hard time falling in line with the smoke free laws and often tend to misbehave. Another reason is said to be the revenue that can be generated from e cigarette sale for the department.

E cigarettes

White county jail signed a deal with a distributor just weeks before to provide vapor cigarettes to inmates. White county jail administrator, Randy Cobb says,” I think it’s a trend all counties will eventually adopt.” Cobb says that the venture with e cigarette has been good so far and it is going smoothly. He says,” It definitely slowed our contraband, and the morale of inmates is up.

The saline county sheriff’s department now is next in line to follow the growing trend. In the saline jail the use of electronic cigarette by inmates is in its third week now and Brian Bennett, jail administrator conveys how there has not been any problem at the jail as he says,” Initially, I was against it, But I haven’t seen any issues with it so far.”

The Williamson county officials say that though they have been approached about putting e cigarette in stock for sale to inmates but they are yet to decide on the matter. Capt. Gary Tyner, Sheriff Department, Williamson County says that a distributor recently made a throw at them by offering supply of e cigarettes and even left samples for employees to use. Tyner says, “We just haven’t decided what to do yet,”

The Franklin and Wabash counties are also considering making available e cigarettes to inmates but quad-city jails are seemingly not open to the panorama of e cigarettes.

But there are still sheriffs who are strictly against allowing e cigarette or any such product inside their jails. Jeff Boyd, Rock Island County Sheriff says,” We went to a no smoking policy close to 20 years ago and we’re not going to deviate from that, there could just be too many issues with people not able to afford them while others may have them. There could be fights over them.” Dennis Conard, Scott county sheriff is more forthright with his opinion as he says,” Not any way in hell are we going to allow those, If you have a battery, you have a fire source, which is a safety issue.” This indicates that it is more of a safety issue for Conard than the health issue.

With inmates still using contraband tobacco and finding illegal means to chew/smoke raw tobacco, e cigarette seems like a much better, improved and a improved option than tobacco cigarettes. Many jails are embracing e cigarettes as a way to raise money and to shrink endeavor by prisoners to smuggle tobacco products into the jail.