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Smoking prisoners need support

Date posted: 19 October 2015

Associate Professor Sophia Couzos, a Public Health Physician and GP based at the School of Medicine and Dentistry at James Cook University, said there was a high rate of smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (44%), who were overrepresented in prisons.

Bans on smoking in prisons have no sustainable impact on prisoners' smoking rates and should be accompanied by greater abstinence support, experts say.

In an MJA editorial published online recently, Professor Tony Butler, Head of the Justice Health Research program at the Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society, and Dr Lorraine Yap, also of the Institute, said studies showed more than half of prisoners reported resuming smoking on their first day of release, including one that showed 97% had resumed smoking by 6 months after release.

They wrote that these figures showed prisoners needed smoking cessation interventions both inside prison and after their release.

'A targeted approach that recognises the unique characteristics of this population group is needed, and must involve support both in prison and in the community, recognising that imprisonment for most is only temporary', they wrote.

Source: National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)


Last updated: 19 October 2015
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