Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik April 22, 2013 - 9:38 am

Quebec says province’s jails are going smoke-free

By 2014, no more smoking inside or outside correctional facilities

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Soon smokers from Nunavik will have to go cold-turkey when they are in southern Quebec jails. (FILE PHOTO)
Soon smokers from Nunavik will have to go cold-turkey when they are in southern Quebec jails. (FILE PHOTO)

Soon there will no smoking in Quebec jails, Quebec’s minister of public security said April 19.

Stéphane Bergeron, the province’s public security minister, said all detention facilities in Quebec will become completely smoke-free by the spring of 2014.

Starting in June, the ban on smoking will be phased in gradually in all detention facilities in Quebec, starting with correctional centres in Sept-Îles and Percé, he said.

A year from now, smoking will be prohibited in all provincial detention facilities.

To ease the transition to a smoke-free environment: workhops, coaching by nurses and support program to help smokers quit.

The previous Liberal government put a partial smoking ban in place, which still allowed inmates to smoke outside.

But correctional staff had a hard time managing that policy, because inmates were allowed to keep cigarettes, even when they were inside.

A Government of Quebec news release that you could still find second-hand smoke in the buildings, despite the ban on smoking indoors.

Concerned about the health of prisoners and non-smoking employees, the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers lobbied for a complete ban on smoking in jails, inside and outside.

A pilot project which took place last June in Chicoutimi tested the effectiveness of the smoking ban.

“Following a positive analysis of the results of the pilot project, I asked the department to move progressively forward [to place a ban] in all detention facilities in Quebec,” Bergeron said.

“A total ban on smoking in detention centres will protect the health of prisoners and the staff who work there, while supporting those who wish to stop smoking,” said Réjean Hébert, Quebec’s health and social services minister.

More than seven in 10 Nunavik adults smoke.

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