Second-hand smoke levels fell by 80% inside Scotland’s jails in the week after a smoking ban was introduced, research by the University of Stirling has found.
The researchers compared smoke levels to measurements taken in 2016. The results showed improvements in all 15 jails across the country.
‘Our study shows improvements in the levels of second-hand smoke in every prison in Scotland, with an average fall of 81%,’ said Dr Sean Semple, the lead researcher on the study, and Associate Professor at the Institute for Social Marketing at University of Stirling.
‘This is similar to the scale of change observed when pubs became smoke-free in 2006 - and the concentrations of fine particles in prison air has now reduced to levels similar to those measured in outdoor air in Scotland. This research confirms that exposure to second-hand smoke has been drastically reduced and, ultimately, this will have a positive impact on the health of prison staff and prisoners.’
The smoking ban in prisons came into force in November 2018. It was estimated about 72% of Scottish prisoners smoked regularly before the ban was introduced. Vaping is still allowed and the Scottish Prison Service has offered e-cigarette kits free of charge to prisoners who want them.
‘We are delighted that the results from this study. It shows that one factor that impacts on that harm – exposure to second-hand smoke – has significantly reduced,’ said Debbie Sigerson, organisational lead for tobacco in NHS Health Scotland.
‘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.’
Smoking has been banned in most enclosed public spaces in Scotland since 2006.