Smoking stubbed-out at IoM Prison through e-cigarette scheme

More than 25% of newly received offenders requested help to quit smoking during the trial Credit:

A six month trial on the Isle of Man allowing offenders at the prison to use e-cigarettes has benefited offenders and staff.

The pilot scheme between April and October 2017 was the result of a partnership between IOM Prison in Jurby, Probation Service and the Public Health Directorate.

It allowed offenders to purchase a controlled weekly supply of specialist e-cig devices, as a substitute for nicotine replacement patches which were previously supplied to prisoners.

The Isle of Man Prison became the first in Europe to introduce a ban on smoking in 2008, putting it at the forefront of efforts to improve offender health and reduce harm caused by secondhand smoke.

While enforcement remained an option, Home Affairs Minister Bill Malarkey approved the introduction of e-cigs on a trial basis as a practical, fair and progressive approach.

An evaluation of the pilot project shows a positive result in key areas:

  • 42% drop in offender adjudications

  • 58% drop in behaviour warnings

  • Cell power outages – down by 50%

  • sharp increase in number of offenders seeking stop smoking support

  • annual saving of £8,500 in cost of nicotine replacement therapy