State Government to ban inmates from smoking as of next year

QUEENSLAND prisons may become a hive of frayed nerves, frustration, depression and fatigue with the state forcing inmates to quit by banning cigarettes from May 5 next year.

Detail of the plan was made public by accident after it was uploaded to the government's Department of Corrections website.

Both Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the smoking ban would improve the health not just of prisoners but the health of workers.

The shift follows policy changes made in the Northern Territory and New South Wales, which have already outlawed smoking in state prisons.

Cancer Council Queensland's Katie Clift said the government was to be praised for its action on smoking, but warned there would be risks.

The state needed to ensure inmates had access to Quitline resources, nicotine patches and counselling to ease the withdrawal symptoms.

"We need to see the appropriate intervention programs introduced with the band - counselling, psycho-social care, the Quitline program and of course free access to nicotine replacement therapy.

"There are a lot of emotional side effects that come with giving up smoking."

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