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Prisoners and prison staff express increased support for prison smoking bans following implementation across Scotland: results from the Tobacco In Prisons study
  1. Helen Sweeting1,
  2. Evangelia Demou1,
  3. Ashley Brown2,
  4. Kate Hunt2
  1. 1 MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2 Institute of Social Marketing, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Helen Sweeting, MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G2 3AX, UK; Helen.Sweeting{at}

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Several jurisdictions have introduced prison smoking bans, responding to concerns around the health of people in custody (hereafter ‘prisoner’ for brevity) and staff, legal challenges and maintenance costs.1 2 Fears of disorder following bans are often expressed in advance.3–5 Although generally unfounded,6 7 such fears may reduce the stakeholder support that is vital for successful implementation.8 A complete prisoner smoking ban (staff smoking was already banned) was introduced in all 15 Scottish prisons in November 2018, precipitating no significant incidents.9 It has been evaluated by the three-phase Tobacco In Prisons study (TIPs).3 4 10 TIPs Phase 1 occurred before the ban’s announcement; Phase 2 following the announcement, but before policy implementation (during which rechargeable e-cigarettes became available to prisoners); and Phase 3 following implementation.

This novel analysis uses TIPs data to examine prisoners’ and prison staff’s opinions about prison smoking bans over the course of implementation.


Prison staff surveys were administered online, with links and reminders circulated to staff …

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  • Contributors HS and ED are Co-Investigators and KH is the Principal Investigator of the Tobacco In Prisons study and therefore all contributed to the overall study design; AB is Research Assistant to the study. All contributed to survey content and management, which was led by HS. HS conceived and conducted the analyses presented here and first-drafted the manuscript. All authors contributed to subsequent drafts and approved submission.

  • Funding This study was funded by Chief Scientist Office (, grant number (SPHSU-12); Medical Research Council (, grant number (MC_UU12017/12) and Public Health Research Programme (, grant number (15/55/44).

  • Competing interests HS is a member of the ASH Scotland Board and its Policy and Development Committee and chairs the Scottish Tobacco-free Alliance Research Group.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.