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Corrections hailed for smoking ban success

Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Corrections

17 August 2011

Corrections hailed for smoking ban success

Corrections Minister Judith Collins today congratulated Corrections Department staff for the successful implementation of a smoking ban across all prisons in New Zealand.

The ban has been in place since 1 July. It followed 12 months of careful planning and preparation by Corrections staff, supported by the Ministry of Health and Quitline.

“I would like to congratulate the Corrections Department for the successful implementation of this policy,” Ms Collins said.

“There has been a noticeable improvement in air quality within our prisons since the ban came into effect.

“Since 1 July there has also been a significant reduction in the number of fire and arson-related incidents. There were only four such incidents in July and one so far in August compared to 18 incidents in the month prior to the ban

“The result is that our prisons are much safer and healthier places for Corrections staff.”

Around 6000 prisoners undertook nicotine replacement therapy in the months before the smoking ban came into effect.

Until recently, two-thirds of prisoners were smokers and the most common health risk factor reported among prisoners was tobacco smoking. Prisoners had triple the rate of smoking as the rest of the community.

“Many prisoners enter prison with addictions for drugs or alcohol. If we’re serious about helping them beat these problems we shouldn’t have addictive substances of any kind in our prisons,” Ms Collins said.

There has been interest from overseas jurisdictions – including the majority of Australian states – on how the policy was implemented so successfully.

ENDS

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