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Sickness Effects of Tobacco Ban

Introduction

The tobacco ban has a direct impact on prisoners who regularly smoke as it will expose them to the sickness effects of nicotine withdrawal. This also has further implications for any employment that they are undertaking.

Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms refer to the changes in your mood, behaviour, and body when you stop smoking.

The following withdrawal symptoms significantly affect a person’s ability to work:                                                                    

Mental Physical
  • Depressed mood
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Sleeping disturbances
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Headache
  • Tingling in the hands and feet
  • Cramps
  • Nausea

 

The Duration That Withdrawal Systems Last For

Withdrawal symptoms appear within 24 hours but can extend over several weeks.

It takes up to six months after quitting for some people to feel better than when they smoked regularly. Even then, some report no improvement in how they feel.

An increase in appetite may last for six months or more. Most people do gain some weight when they stop smoking, which mostly occurs in the first one or two years after they quit. However, research with women show that in the long term, the average weight of ex-smokers is similar to people who have never smoked.

Most symptoms abate by four weeks' abstinence from smoking, with the exception of increased appetite and decreased heart rate, which may persist for longer than 10 weeks. The urge to smoke, especially when under stress, may persist for much longer. Most symptoms are reduced by nicotine replacement therapy, the exceptions being night-time awakening and decreased adrenaline and cortisol levels, about which more research is needed.

Implications for Employment

These symptoms reduce productivity and performance in the workplace, which may prove to be costly in the long-term. They can lead to tension, disputes, and accidents especially where physical work is involved.

The impacts of smoking bans can be especially severe on those who have a hostile trait based on cynical attitudes and a general mistrust of others. Ongoing studies have shown that their nicotine withdrawal symptoms will worsen due to tobacco deprivation.

  1. http://www.quit.org.au/about/frequently-asked-questions/faq-smoking-withdrawal/faq-withdrawal-symptoms.html
  2. http://www.quitsmokingsupport.com/withdrawal1.htm
  3. Alexander V. Prokhorov, Carl A. de Moor, Karen Suchanek Hudmon, Steven H. Kelder, Jennifer L. Conroy, and Nicole Ordway, Nicotine dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and adolescents' readiness to quit smoking, Nicotine Tob Res (2001) 3 (2): 151-155 doi:10.1080/14622200124778
  4. Austin Quinn, Stephanie Sekimura, Raina Pang, Michal Trujillo, Christopher W. Kahler, and Adam M. Leventhal, Hostility as a Predictor of Affective Changes During Acute Tobacco Withdrawal, Nicotine Tob Res (2014) 16 (3): 335-342 first published online October 10, 2013 doi:10.1093/ntr/ntt151

Prisoners’ rights

In Victoria, there are, of course, restrictions placed on prisoners’ lives due to the unique features of the prison environment, which requires a balancing of security and welfare concerns by correctional administrators. However, prisoners are basically entitled to the same rights as other citizens, with the only qualification on such rights being the legislative rules and regulations relating to their incarceration. In short, prisoners possess those rights that are consistent with the good order, management and security of the prison. (Law Handbook- Victoria)

According to Australian Human Rights Commission, The United Nations Human Rights Committee has made it clear that prisoners enjoy all the rights in theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR), subject to 'restrictions that are unavoidable in a closed environment'. (General Comment No.21)

https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/rights-and-freedoms/projects/prisoners-rights

 

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