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Prison smoking ban could be European first for Isle of Man 20 June 2007

PLANS to enforce a total smoking ban at the new Isle of Man Prison in Jurby could see the Island leading the way in Europe.

Regulations banning smoking in public places laid before Tynwald this week are broadly the same as those adopted in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic but the Isle of Man will go further by including the prison in the list of premises where smoking will be banned.

The Department of Home Affairs has adopted a policy recommended by the Prison’s senior management team that will not permit smoking by staff or prisoners at the new jail, which is scheduled to become operational in March 2008.

Home affairs Minister Martyn Quayle MHK commented:

‘The Department considered a total ban was the right policy to adopt in the current climate and is not planning to seek an exemption under the regulations. Both the Members and I are aware that this sets a timescale for a smoking ban to be imposed in the Isle of Man Prison whereas the UK and other jurisdictions generally permit smoking in cells and prison yards while working towards a 100% smoke-free target.
‘Although the Isle of Man will be among the last to prohibit smoking in public places when the ban comes in on March 30, 2008, we could be the first in Britain and possibly in Europe to have a smoke-free jail when the new prison opens at Jurby. It will provide clean air, free from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, to staff and prisoners and will encourage prisoners – the majority of whom smoke – to break their addiction to nicotine.’

Isle of Man prisoners will have access to smoking cessation therapies including Nicotine Replacement Therapy on request, under medical supervision. The annual cost of providing NRT to all prisoners who currently smoke is estimated at £20,000 per year, and the Prison management will be working with the Department of Health and Social Security to establish protocols for providing this and other support to prisoners.

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