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Isle of Man Prison Vaping Experiment A Success

Isle of Man Prison Vaping Experiment A Success


Isle of Man Prison Vaping Experiment A Success

Vaping has found the perfect place to showcase the its power of cessation: prison. With some countries pushing bans of smoking in institutionalized and privatized spaces, the elimination of tobacco in prisons seems to be an inevitability. That's understandable, given the current societal attitude toward smoking and the health risks associated with smoking combustible cigarettes.

When the Isle of Man imposed a ban on smoking in its prisons in 2008, the European country faced problems with prisoners finding ways to get their nicotine fix. Inmates smoked tea leaves, banana peels, and other assorted items imbued with nicotine extracted from traditional nicotine replacement therapy patches. Prisoners even created power outages by using wires and flints to generate sparks from outlets to light their homemade concoctions.

However, after the Isle of Man prison systems implemented a trial period permitting prisoners to have a go with e-cigarettes for six months, the consequences of the smoking ban have evaporated and prisoners have largely abandoned their smoking habits. The introduction of e-cigarettes into the prison system has garnered positive feedback from prisoners, prison wardens, and the Jurby prisons’ governor, Bob McColm, who had the following to share:

"The e-cigarette pilot scheme at Jurby prison is a major success story for the Isle of Man. A problem has been solved. We have better behaviour, a calmer, cleaner and safer environment," McColm said, adding that he was surprised at how many inmates were looking for help to quit smoking but who hadn't been helped by traditional means.

In some ways, the prison system is the best place for spearheading an initiative replacing smoking with access to e-cigarettes. The idea of harm reduction fits in with the ethos of prison system’s conscious effort at rehabilitation. Similarly, utilizing harm reduction linked to vaping is a part of the cessation process from cigarettes has acted as a sort of reformation which has lead to a better overall environment in the institution.

The access to e-cigarettes has been monitored by the prison, and the results have delivered an accurate and concrete way in which the prisoners changed for the better when introduced to the most popular cessation tool to quit combustible cigarettes. As a result, the prisons reported back some encouraging numbers about the way that inmates have changed since vaping was introduced.  

In that time, about 25 percent of new offenders have asked for help to quit smoking using the trial vapes. Additionally, the prison found that during the trial period, there was a 42 percent drop in further punishment against prisoners, 58 percent drop in behavior warnings and cell power outages were down by 50 percent.

The Isle of Man’s Department of Home Affairs supplied a comment from  prisoner ’Dave’:

"I used to smoke every day of the week and didn’t think about quitting," Dave said. "Now I’ve quit because it was too expensive, It was better for me, no doubt about it. I’m 29 now and I’ve been smoking since I was 13, It’s a good environment to quit smoking, especially now that e-cigarettes have come in."