£150,000 bill for vaping kits for Scottish prisoners

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Around 7,500 vaping kits have been handed out to inmates following a smoking ban in prisons, at a cost of around £150,000, it has emerged.

A nationwide ban on lighting up in Scottish jails came into force in November.

Almost three-quarters of prisoners smoke, and the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said it was not acceptable that other inmates and staff should be exposed to secondhand smoke.

Prior to the ban, inmates were permitted to smoke in their cells.

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Responding to a Freedom of Information request by BBC Scotland, the SPS said it expected the total cost of the vaping kit scheme to be about £150,000.

The kit includes a pen, charger and a pack of three flavoured liquids.

Inmates will be expected to pay for their own pens and liquids from April.

SPS spokesman Tom Fox said: “I think it’s money well spent. The health benefits for our staff and those in our care greatly outweigh any initial cost we have introducing the programme.”

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The air quality in prisons is said to have risen by an average of 80% since smoking was banned.