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Vermont Ends Smoking Ban

The Nov. 26, 1992, edition of the Seattle Times reports that the Vermont DOC has ended its ban on prisoner smoking. The Vermont DOC had banned smoking, in July 92, to counter indoor air pollution problems and avoid lawsuits by non smoking prisoners.

The reason given by prison officials for ending the ban was that it had created a thriving black market with a pack of cigarettes costing $40 and individual cigarettes going for $3. Those without money to buy them allegedly use "threats and violence to get them, while others reportedly traded sexual favors or prescription drugs for a smoke."

Prison guards, also forbidden to smoke inside the prisons, were allegedly the primary source of contraband. Dave Eaton, a Vermont prisoner, said the ban had increased the stress factor in prison and reported some smokers were so desperate for a smoke they were smoking coffee and tang. Vermont prisoners will now be able to smoke outdoors in designated areas.

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