Vaping has become wildly popular in UK prisons with 65,000 refill and e-cigarette sales in jails every week.
By Adam Smith | June 27th, 2018
The Ministry of Justice allowed vaping in cells after last year’s smoking ban sparked riots in several prisons and now 33,000 prisoners get their nicotine fix through e-cigarettes.
Prisoners have to buy flavored liquid for their vapes and jail shops have been doing a roaring trade, however, there have been reports of mind-bending substances like spice being squirted in the machines.
A Prison Service spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: ‘All closed prisons in England and Wales are now smoke-free reducing the risk of second-hand smoke to prisoners and staff.
‘Prisoners have been given support in quitting smoking if they need it including vapes, e-cigarettes, and nicotine replacement therapy.’
After the smoking ban prisoners, there were instances of prisoners cutting up nicotine patches and smoking them with, bible pages, tea leaves or banana skins as well as widespread disturbances by lags ‘craving a burn’.
Official statistics estimated 80 percent of the UK’s 70,000 prisoners smoked and assaults on prisoners and staff also rocketed after the ban.
The Ministry of Justice sanctioned a pilot scheme in Welsh prisons which proved successful and was then rolled out to other jails in the UK.
A Public Health England report said: ‘Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service have agreed to make the rechargeable vaping devices piloted in Wales available across the whole estate, including within the Long Term High Security and Women’s prisons.’
A recently released inmate of Derbyshire’s Foston Hall Prison said today: ‘I could not have done my two-month sentence without my vape, I saw how bad it was when the smoking ban came in last year and when I had to go back in I was dreading craving a burn. ‘However, I got a vaping machine and it made my sentence a lot easier.’
‘We could buy six packs of refills every week but the girls obviously swap and sell each other packs, it is like how burn (tobacco) used to be a currency in jail, some people owed up to 20 packs when I got in there.’
Last year there was a riot at Staffordshire’s Drake Hall Womens Hospital after the smoking ban, one of several prisons which experienced disturbances when tobacco stopped being sold.
She said: ‘We got all the leaflets about how the ban was going to happen – first the shop would stop selling tobacco, and then the total ban would come in.
‘Within the first week of the shop stopped selling it, there was a riot. Loads of prisoners refused to go back to their cells and it was mayhem.
‘There were women screaming and shouting, sitting on the roofs of blocks.’
Class B drug Spice has caused havoc in prisons, the odorless synthetic was traditionally smoked with tobacco but last week it emerged inmates had found a new way to get their fix.
An Independent Monitoring Board into conditions at HMP Leicester revealed prisoners were pouring Class B drug spice into vaping machines.
The report said: ‘All indicators showed new psychoactive drugs were readily available, and a ‘growing number of man-made, mind-altering chemicals’.