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Smoking in correctional facilities: a survey of employees
  1. Matthew J Carpentera,
  2. John R Hughesa,
  3. Laura J Solomona,
  4. Thomas A Powellb
  1. aDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA, bThe Vermont Department of Corrections
  1. Matthew Carpenter, University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry, 38 Fletcher Place, Burlington, VT 05401, USAmatthew.carpenter{at}


OBJECTIVE To assess level of endorsement and expected consequences of worksite smoking restriction policies among correctional employees.

DESIGN Mailed survey to Vermont state correctional employees.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Support for various policy alternatives for both staff and inmate smoking; expected consequences of restrictive smoking policies and smoking behaviour.

PARTICIPANTS 321 of 640 (50%) state correctional employees responded.

RESULTS Employees were somewhat receptive to smoking restrictions for inmates, but less supportive of staff smoking restrictions. A complete ban on inmate smoking both indoors and outdoors was supported by 56% and 49% of never and ex-smokers, respectively, but only 15% of current smokers (p < 0.01). A similar ban on employee smoking was supported by 38% of never and ex-smokers, but only 3% of current smokers (p < 0.01). Overall, employees were most supportive (52%) of a policy for themselves that banned indoor smoking and restricted it to certain areas outdoors. Current smokers were more likely to expect negative consequences as a result of further restrictions than were never or ex-smokers.

CONCLUSIONS Although our findings are limited by a low response rate, most employees support an indoor ban, but not a total ban on smoking. Employees generally favoured a policy that was slightly more restrictive than the current policy, but were less supportive of tighter smoking restrictions for themselves. However, a more restrictive smoking policy is likely to result in some degree of resistance among current smoking employees, who may require specific attention to address their opposition.

  • smoking restrictions
  • policy
  • environmental tobacco smoke
  • correctional facilities

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