Used to be that a couple cartons of cigarettes could buy you some protection in prison, but Florida inmates may want to start trafficking in boxes of Nicorette. That's because in six months time smoking will be completely banned in state prisons. Officials claim that treating prisoners for tobacco-related maladies like emphysema and cancer costs tax payers $8.7 million a year.
"Eliminating smoking is a win for taxpayers, but it's also a win for employees and inmates, making our facilities healthier places to work and live in, and making them a little safer, too," Edwin Buss, secretary of the state Department of Corrections, said in a news release according to The Tampa Tribune.
The new rules will also eliminate lighters from prisons, which can lead to arson and can also be used to fashion weapons.
About half of the states already ban smoking in prison.
Though, prisoners will be offered help with kicking the habit, and prison employees will still have designated smoking areas outside of prison gates.
Of course, this also means a loss of a popular form of "prison currency," but apparently honey buns have recently overtaken cigarettes as the currency of choice in Florida prisons. No word on whether officials plan to ban those too to curb costs from treating prisoners for obesity-related illness.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.