This study is the first evaluation of changes in second-hand tobacco smoke concentrations across all prisons within a country that has introduced nationwide prohibition of smoking in prisons. The exposure of prison staff and prisoners to second-hand tobacco smoke is likely to be considerably reduced as a result of implementation of this policy.
An SPS spokesman said “All Scottish prisons went Smoke Free on November 30, 2018 and there have been no significant incidents as a result. This amazing achievement is a testament to the contribution made by all of our staff, especially those on the front line, and the cooperation of those in our care. Having data from the TIPs research helped in our planning and collaboration with the NHS, and has been key to ensuring people in our care were prepared for going smoke free and were offered help to quit in advance, similar to the support people in the community can access through their local pharmacy or GP.”
Debbie Sigerson, Organisational Lead for Tobacco in NHS Health Scotland said: “Smoking rates in prisons were much higher than they are outside. It was anticipated that creating a smoke free environment in prison would contribute to addressing this health inequality, and that the health of people who live and work there would be improved.
“We are delighted that the results from this study, early on in the implementation of smoke free prisons, shows that one factor that impacts on that harm – exposure to second hand smoke – has significantly reduced. Everyone has a right to live in a smoke free Scotland and today’s results show that we are one step further along the way to getting there.”
The study, The impact of implementation of a national smoke-free prisons policy on indoor air quality: results from the Tobacco in Prisons Study, also involved Ashley Brown, Research Fellow at the ISM, and Dr Helen Sweeting, Reader at the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow. The team worked with the SPS and NHS colleagues in the design of the study.
It forms part of TIPS, which is led by Professor Hunt and funded by the National Institute for Health Research.