INTRODUCTION: Scotland is one of few countries in which e-cigarettes were available in prisons before the introduction of a comprehensive national smokefree policy, to assist in its implementation. This qualitative study explores initial views and experiences of vaping in this specific context, from the perspective of people in custody (prisoners).
METHODS: Twenty-eight people in custody were interviewed ~1-2 months after rechargeable e-cigarettes were made available in prisons and 2-5 weeks before implementation of a smokefree policy. Data were thematically analysed to identify the range and diversity of views and experiences.
RESULTS: Participants expressed support for e-cigarettes in preparation for the smokefree policy, describing their symbolic and practical value in this context. Uptake of vaping was strongly influenced by the need for participants to manage without tobacco in the near future. Participants evaluated their initial vaping experiences, either positively or negatively, in relation to the utility of e-cigarettes for mandated smoking abstinence and in providing satisfaction, pleasure and novelty. Participant views on several issues related to e-cigarette use, both specific to the prison population (product choice, cost) and more generally (safety and long-term use), are explored.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest possible benefits of e-cigarettes as one means of supporting smokefree policy in a population with many smokers. They also point to potential challenges posed by vaping in prisons and smokefree settings caring for similar populations. There is a need for ongoing measures to maximise the health benefits of smokefree settings, and for further research on vaping in situations of enforced abstinence.
|Journal||Nicotine and Tobacco Research|
|Early online date||24 May 2020|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 24 May 2020|