Labour Research April 2012

Health & Safety Matters

Prison staff want ban on smoking in cells

Prison officers have called for prisons to be smoke-free workplaces as staff continue to be exposed to passive smoking.

The Prison Officers’ Association has pointed out that cells are classified as the homes of prisoners and so they can smoke in them. As officers have to enter prisoners’ cells, they are being exposed to the raised levels of toxins associated with smoking in a confined space.

A study by the anti-smoking group FRESH North East suggests that the health implications of passive smoking in prisons could be acute. In one prison it found non-smoking prison officers with cotinine levels — a measure of exposure to nicotine — close to the levels measured in bar workers before the ban on smoking in enclosed public places.