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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Totally Tobacco-free Prisons--Outcomes and Insights

Stephen L. Hansen, M.D., Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, State of California, 1744 Alisal Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Objective: To reduce tobacco-related illness, expenses, litigation, fires, and environmental degradation in prisons with their highly vulnerable inmate and employee populations.

Methods: Data on prevalence, morbidity, mortality, health costs, litigation and facilities' maintenance costs related to tobacco in California prisons was gathered. Coalitions of physicians groups, correctional organizations, health voluntaries and inmates were built. A public information and earned media campaign was generated, press conferences held, politicians lobbied, and committee testimony given. A senior legislator and cancer survivor carried our bill which was originally only to seek preclusion of use among inmates,but was later salubriously amended to include no tobacco possession by any person on state prison property.

Results: This strong and comprehensive bill passed the legislature with bipartisan support, was signed by our notorious stogie-smoking governor, and no problems are reported at 6 months since it has been in effect. Inmates, employees, and families of both groups love it. Interest in cessation for employees via their health plans and the California Smoker's Helpline has increased. Minority populations are greatly benefitted. One-year data on the above objectives will be presented. It's all good!