TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – In an effort to reduce healthcare costs at state prisons the Florida Department of Corrections is moving to make sure their facilities are smoke-free by September.

While smoking bans have been in place for Florida public buildings and offices for some time now, and the Federal Prison system has been smoke-free since 2004, the prisons run by the state have not been.

“Inmate smoking and second-hand smoking is costing millions in healthcare costs each year,” said Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Edwin Buss.

“Eliminating smoking is a win for taxpayers, but it’s also a win for employees and inmates, making our facilities healthier places to work and live in, and making them a little safer too,” he said.

Florida taxpayers spent nearly $9 million last year for inmate tobacco-related illness, according to a Florida Department of Corrections statement. Removing cigarettes from prisons will also result in cleaner facilities, remove lighters and reduce the chance of arson, according to the statement.

Inmates will have 180 days notice that their smoking rights will be removed. Help in quitting the habit will be offered.

There will be designated smoking areas for employees outside prison fences.

Comments (29)
  1. Ayla Smith says:

    I think this is a great idea. Why allow criminals to hike up tax payers costs even more?

    1. laux says:

      It won’t save taxpayers any money. Inmates will be attacking the guards more often, attacking each other more often, and who do you think will be paying for their nicotine-gum(which is vastly more expensive than cigarettes anyways).

    2. Someone who cares says:

      I wish all the prisons would enforce this law in Florida. But they don’t! Especially the one in Perry, Florida. So sad. PERRY,FLORIDA NEEDS TO ENFORCE THIS LAW! Those that are for it must me smokers themselves. Non-smokers have NO rights. So unfair.

  2. laux says:

    This will only cause more violence. Which is more expensive: One inmate with lung cancer, or dozens with multiple shiv-wounds?

    1. matt says:

      Who cares. They should’ve thought about this before they did whatever they did to end up in prison.

    2. jesse says:

      Is that a guess? There are a lot of prisons around the US that have been smoke free for years now.

  3. Eileen says:

    Inmates will still smoke. They’ll buy cigarettes from the guards.

    1. sumday says:

      um I don’t think it is cigarettes the guards are selling

    2. jimmy says:

      haha for sure

  4. Jayne Marshall says:

    I disagree, I think it will save a ton of money in health care costs long term, not only that thousands of people will be able to quit this habit, I totally agree with this

  5. elizabeth says:

    I am so happy that the Florida government has decided to do this. Prisoners say they have no rights, but yet they have cable, internet, AC, food, clothing, clean drinking water. They have more than some of the states “good” citizens do. I would love to believe that it will save taxpayers money, but I feel that it won’t. At least it will be one thing to make them unhappy. You are sent to prison to serve time, not to party around all day.

    1. oilfeilds says:

      most of the families buy their relatvies cigs soap etc even pay for sime of the foods

    2. KJ says:

      What planet are you from Elizabeth? Ever been to jail? Didn’t think so! There imay be a TV but only one in a large rec room. The inmates are so loud you can’t hear it anyway, and only the top dawg has control over the channel. There is no internet, at least not available to inmates. No AC in the prison my brother is at. Food? That has already been cut back and I wouldn’t serve it to the dog. Clothing? Have you seen the state of their cothing? They aren’t handed out replacements as often as you think. How often do you think they get to party when they constantly have to look over their shoulder to make sure they are jumoped or shanked, or retaliated against just because they looked the wrong way or didn’t hand over what food they had on their tray. Yes, I will agree that they don’t have to worry about paying the light bill or rent like you and I do, but then again, they have other worries that you and I don’t have, and should never have to face. I wouldn’t make sweeping generalizations as you do. There is a story and circumstance to everything, and until you can stand in each and everyone’s shoes, I wouldn’t be casting stones.

      1. Anna says:

        KJ, you said it all, You and I know just how it is. Their families carry the cost and we are the ones who know the pain and we are the ones who serve each day they serve. Been there with my family and i will always stand by them. When they fall i will be there to pick them up dust them off and stand them up and set them on the right road again

    3. rodney says:

      you dont no anything theres no internet cable good food theres poor clothing do your research before you post some thing you make me laugh your clueless

    4. Paul Brown says:


      You need to be updated on the Florida prison system, Not all prison have AC for the inmates, but all of the guards have AC, Not all have cable, and the internet is not allowed for the most of the imnates. The food cost less then two dollars a meal, they could get a better meal from fast food.
      The canteens that supply better food cost the inmates to eat better, and who owns the canteens? Bush’s wife did while he was in office.

      I’m 100% between the no smoking products, should have been done years ago.

  6. Don Ray says:

    I work for the Department of Corrections in Oklahoma. We went smoke free now are slowly allowing it. There will be no savings by stopping it. The inmates come in with the problems not get them from smoking there. Cost will skyrocket for write-ups, trying to fight contraband tobacco. I suggest they do a little bit or research from other states first. Stupid idea believe me.

  7. Kristine says:


    I am not sure where you’re getting your information from… state prison inmates do NOT have access to cable and internet or even AC for that matter. (only certain dorms have AC, the rest are climate controlled). I don’t know about the county jail but I work at a state female institution and believe you me, there is no internet for these inmates!

    And while I do agree with the fundamental idea of making our prisons smoke-free, it is also risky considering that will make the inmates angry which in turn makes the prison more unstable and prone to violence. Eliminating something doesn’t make the item go away- it just goes to the black market, and trust me, if an inmate wants soemthing, he or she will find a way to get it even if means of violence. However, we’ll see how things go, my concern is safety for staff, as our lives are on the line everyday.

  8. sumday says:

    I’m shocked that imates are allowed to smoke at all! do we also allow them to drink as well?

  9. Tron says:

    It’s about time! why should we foot the bill for increased health care for these scum bags. You want to smoke? don’t break the law!

  10. amvoiceofreason says:

    Now if they could go drug free.

  11. Prison Teacher says:

    I work at a max security fed joint that went smoke free in 2004. The inmates were cranky for awhile and complained a lot, but there wasn’t much more to the change than that. Violence did not increase just because of the ban. It’s a better environment to work in and for them to live in. The inmates are healthier as a result and taxpayers are saving money due to decrease in visits to the doctor. Overall, it was a great change that benefitted everyone.

  12. James Madden says:

    i think there should be a special rule for LIFE; those people don’t have much to live for anyways.

  13. Let'em Rot says:

    Fine let the Lifers/Death Row inmates smoke…just don’t provide them any related medical care. This may help to decrease the life inmates and the death row condemned!

  14. righttrack says:

    Yes, it will save in health-care costs for the prisoners. But that means that they will live longer, and those that are sentenced to life in prison will actually cosi\t the taxpayers more money because the prisoners will live longer.

  15. Justin says:

    I work at a Florida prison up north, and the inmates DO NOT receive cable or internet. They do get better treatment than most homeless. I think they are going after the wrong thing. Smoking, unfortunately, is like the television. It’s a great babysitter, and keeps them occupied and sated.
    what needs to stop, is the inmates only have a $5 medical co pay, while i have a $20 co pay. secondly, I have escorted a death row inmate to the hospital to have his intestines untwisted, and another death row inmate to have a kidney removed. that is the shocking part of medical expenses. All the inmates that have AIDS, and the rest of the inmates also get free medications.

  16. mikko says:

    let them smoke so what they are doing time. make a smoking area for them outside and make it something they have to earn. if they get out they just start smoking again. they want to save money then they need to get on the doctors for the fees they charge. the inmates or their family buys the cigarettes $3-5 a pack compared to $150-200 the dr’s charge to say hi.

  17. The Littliest Sister says:

    Reduce the chance of arson? Who specifically has studied the arson attempts and has decided the frequency of such actions has burdened the tax payers? How much tax dollars were spent for this research? These studies and financial reports are a free public record and this is a request for those public records. You may respond with this request to this website. Please be advised the Federal Constitution has provided a time frame to which you are required to respond to a public records request. When you cooperate, I’ll say thanks.

  18. hope says:

    i dont think its right to stop the smokin theres going to be more inmates sexin guards for ciggs ! Its inmates who have life on deathrow whos nerves are freaked up let them smoke outside and theres no cable there only certain prisons have ac no internet poor food theres no smokin going to be a lot of fat people still going to medical why stop one to create one makes no sensce

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