PRISONERS desperate for a nicotine fix are now vaping in jail with prisons reporting an impressive 65,000 sales a week.
The use of e-cigarettes in cells was green lit by the UK government last year after a smoking ban sparked riots in several prisons.
Now 33,000 prisoners have made the switch from cigarettes to vaping with in-jail stores selling hundreds of thousands of refills and e-cigarettes per month, according to new figures.
A Prison Service spokesperson told UK newspaper Metro: “All closed prisons in England and Wales are now smoke free reducing the risk of second-hand smoke to prisoners and staff.
“Prisoners have been given support in quitting smoking if they need it including vapes, e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapy.”
After the smoking ban, smokers inside jail – who, according to official statistics make up a staggering 80 per cent of the Britain’s 70,000 prisoners – were reported to be taking desperate measures to get their nicotine fixes.
Jailbirds were said to be cutting up nicotine patches and smoking them with bible pages, tea leaves or banana skins.
Assaults on prisoners and staff also rapidly increased after the ban.
In response to the reaction, The Ministry of Justice sanctioned a pilot scheme in Welsh prisons to introduce vaping, which proved so successful it was then rolled out to other jails in the UK.
A Public Health England report said at the time: “Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service have agreed to make the rechargeable vaping devices piloted in Wales available across the whole estate, including within the Long Term High Security and Women’s prisons.”
A recently released inmate of Derbyshire’s Foston Hall Prison told the newspaper: “I could not have done my two month sentence without my vape, I saw how bad it was when the smoking ban came in last year and when I had to go back in I was dreading craving a burn.
“However, I got a vaping machine and it made my sentence a lot easier.”