Proposed bills would ban smoking on Missouri prison grounds

Thursday, February 17, 2011 | 7:10 a.m. CST; updated 3:21 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 17, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — Some Missouri lawmakers want to snuff out cigarettes at state prisons.

Bills filed recently in both the Missouri House and Senate would prohibit smoking or the use of tobacco products anywhere on the grounds of state correctional facilities.

One of the sponsors is Republican Sen. Jim Lembke of St. Louis, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee. He says the proposed tobacco ban is a financial issue.

Lembke says the cost of medical care for prisoners has risen significantly. He says two chief causes are cardiac problems and cancer, which are associated with tobacco use.

According to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, 13 states currently prohibit the use of all tobacco products both indoors and outdoors on the grounds of correctional facilities.


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Spencer Chaffin February 17, 2011 | 9:27 a.m.

During the 10 years I worked at the "wall's" the worst part was the smoking. I had to take several days each year sick time due to the affects of smoking
Used a respirator to enter the prison, with an assistant wardens approval. The smoke on the fromt steps was worse than in the prison itself.

(Report Comment)
Martin Pion February 18, 2011 | 9:33 a.m.

I certainly sympathize with employees working in prisons where smoking is allowed.
The bills deserve support but not just because of the healthcare costs incurred.
Neither prisoners nor staff should have to be exposed to secondhand smoke in prisons.
Martin Pion, President, Missouri GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution) Inc.
NFP since 1986.

(Report Comment)

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