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Stubbed out: Scotland's answer to everything

Top story on BBC Scotland today?

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has said it intends to make Scotland's prisons smoke free by next year.

The date was announced at the launch of a major report into prison workers' exposure to second-hand smoke.

It showed high levels of second-hand smoke in parts of some prisons.

See Target date in 2018 for smoke-free Scottish prisons (BBC News)

There's a significant difference between "high levels of second-hand smoke" and illness and disease but that seems to have been overlooked.

Instead the mere presence of "second-hand smoke" is cited as enough to justify a comprehensive smoking ban, indoors and out.

Forest's response read:

"The risks of secondhand smoke have been greatly exaggerated. Allowing inmates to smoke in their cells poses no significant risk to prison officers.

"On the other hand, banning smoking in prisons risks inflaming a tense and sometimes violent environment.

"Tobacco is an important currency in prison. The removal of one of the few privileges inmates are allowed could also fuel the use of illicit substances."

In addition to BBC News we were quoted by the Daily Mail, Scotsman, Scottish Sun, Herald, Evening Times and iNews. Late afternoon I also did interviews for Reporting Scotland (BBC1) and Newsdrive (BBC Radio Scotland).

Needless to say we seemed to fighting a lone battle until I noticed this quote by Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, in the Evening Times:

"A sensible and considered approach to smoking in prisons would leave prisoners with a choice - at least to smoke outside."

He called for "proper support" while people give up, "not just smoking cessation aids, but increased vigilance for signs of distress that could easily turn into self harm or worse".

He added: "Prisons also need to ensure that tobacco does not become another illicit substance which is traded in prisons, leaving prisoners at increased risk of getting into debt and subject to violence and intimidation. The prison service will need the time and space to manage a difficult operational transition."

By coincidence the Daily Mail today reported that:

Prisoners have already started rioting ahead of a total smoking ban across many UK jails, it was revealed today.

Tobacco will gradually be outlawed in English jails from August 31 - but inmates have revealed that some started trouble as soon as the ban was announced.

See Prisoners are RIOTING over a Government ban on smoking in jails being rolled out across the country (Daily Mail).

This follows a report in May that warned, A smoking ban in UK prisons could lead to months or even years of rioting (Metro).

For an insider view however I recommend this article by former inmate Alex Cavendish:

Prison smoking ban will worsen the crisis behind bars (

Essential reading.

PS. Holyrood, 'Scotland's award-winning current affairs magazine', chose not to include a single comment by anyone opposed to the ban.

Fancy that!

Update: The Daily Record also has the story - Inmates furious as bosses reveal date for smoke-free Scots prisons.

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Reader Comments (2)

This will show the authorities if they implement this that they will possibly have a full grown revolution on their hands. As usual it will not be the high mucky mucks who will suffer, it will be the guys and gals working in the front line. I have noticed that in all the reports that there is not one comment from any of the people who will be working in the front line as to there feelings about this decision. But then again this would amount to a fair reporting instead of their biased report

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 7:25 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Kerr

I predict that the threat of second hand smoke will pale into insignificance in the face of a furious Jimmy "The Knife" MacHorrible.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 9:22 | Unregistered CommenterJay

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