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Tobacco Use Among Inmates: Mississippi Survey Suggests 70 Percent of Inmates Use Tobacco Products

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 23 Issue: 10 Dated: October 1998 Pages: 1-2-23
K Crews; F M Gordy; S L Silberman; R C LeJeune
Date Published
4 pages
In a survey of a representative sample of prison inmates in Mississippi, 70.3 percent use tobacco products.
Data were collected from approximately 10 percent of the males at Parchman State Penitentiary, Rankin County Correctional Facility, and the county work centers throughout the State and 20 percent of the females at the Rankin County Correctional Facility. The study also included all incoming inmates until a number approximately equal to the sample of incarcerated inmates was achieved. The final sample of 1,237 had a fairly equal distribution between incarcerated and incoming male inmates; the study included only one incoming female inmate. Among the participants, 64.7 percent smoked cigarettes, 0.9 percent used smokeless tobacco, and 4.7 percent used both products. Incarcerated and incoming male inmates had similar smoking habits; the females were not compared. The age group with the highest percentage of smokers (83 percent) was 15- to 29-year-olds. Smokers and nonsmokers were similar in race and sex. Findings indicated a considerable difference in tobacco use between the general population and the inmate population in Mississippi. A formal tobacco prevention and cessation program could be particularly important for this population, but is unlikely to be effective without the cooperation and education of administrators and correctional officers as long as tobacco remains an important component of a token economy. Tables and 13 references