Freedom would be even better –
JUNE 30, 2020 – One aspect is the potential benefits of nicotine and the harms of withdrawal to people in this setting. Nicotine has calming properties which help to explain, for example, very high smoking rates among people with mental health diagnoses—a population that heavily overlaps with the incarcerated population. Withdrawal, as Carrie Wade explained for Filter, brings symptoms like “irritability, anxiety, depressed mood, craving and malaise”—all of which would be greatly compounded for someone entering prison or jail.
Since incarceration is often physically and emotionally traumatic, smoking a cigarette can be a coping mechanism whose long-term risks understandably seem less important than immediate emotional needs. Unsurprisingly, incarcerated people have responded to bansby seeking contraband tobacco, which may lead to debts and power imbalances, or even violence, among the population.