Are US Jails Silently Switching To Electronic Cigarettes?

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2014-05-03 15:54:05

Since August last year, there are at least two corrections facilities in the US that have been selling electronic cigarettes to their inmates instead of letting them have cigarettes. A jailhouse in Tennessee and another in Phoenix have taken the lead in selling these vaporizers to inmates as they seek to keep prisons smoke-free.

Information trickling in is still scanty but what has so far come in is to effect that the pieces being sold to the inmates are not the regular ones that anyone would buy from their supplier. These are specially made to meet the strict security requirements of materials that prisoners get access to while they are incarcerated.

Are both jails selling the same product? If what is being sold has been modified for prison conditions, there is a likelihood that they may be made by the same company. However, there is one little detail that does not add up. While in one jail the e-cigs are going for $13.5 the inmates in the other prison have to part with $18 in order to get one.

Given that these electronic cigarettes are most likely disposables, that price is a little on the higher side, but that again may be explained away as a mark up for the modifications that were made to the standard version of regular disposables.

Are these sales being motivated by the desire to make a profit? Someone at the Phoenix jail, a sheriff, revealed that the facility will earn between $4-5 for each piece that is bought by the prisoners there.

Could the jailers be motivated to help the inmates get rid of a health threat that they are up against? After all, asking them to go cold turkey has always resulted into very sour inmates that can be a real headache to prison authorities. That they can give them e-cigs as a safer alternative is a worthy way to help these people.

At this moment, all that can be said is that whoever thought of the idea to provide inmates e-cigarettes did something very good. People may say it was for pecuniary gain but that cannot take away the massive benefit that those who access these e-cigs will get.

What is even of greater interest is the fact that the penitentiaries cite a CDC opinion that e-cigs are a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes. Now that is a new one. The official position of the CDC and the FDA has been that not enough is known about these devices.

Bringing it together...

What is happening may be the beginning of a trend that may sweep across the entire US. All that is needed is for a few more prisons to catch on and the switch will sweep across the entire country. As it may be known, what happens in the US has a big influence on what happens elsewhere in the world. Could that be the big break that e-cigs need to begin being looked at favourably by authorities and regulators? Not so much can be read into this for now.



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