Thursday, July 22, 2010

Return Of Prison Smoking Irritates Doug Cox

Rep. Doug Cox, an emergency room physician, today said he is “surprised, dismayed and disappointed” in the Department of Corrections’ decision to end its “no smoking” policy in some state prisons.

“One of the main reasons people are in prisons is for addictive behavior, whether that’s substance abuse or sexual addictions,” said Cox, R-Grove. “To allow cigarette smoking in prison just reinforces an addictive behavior. We should not allow any unhealthy addictive behavior in a prison population.”

Cox, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Health, noted addiction to tobacco can lead to other problems.

“If you visit any substance abuse rehabilitation center, more than 90 percent of the clients will tell you the first substance they became addicted to was nicotine.
Cox said. “Furthermore, for the Department of Corrections to allow smoking is a direct slap in the face to the state Health Department’s goal of decreasing tobacco use in Oklahoma.”

Cox urged Department of Corrections’ officials to reconsider the policy change.

“Someone needs to remind Justin Jones, director of the state Department of Corrections, that cigarette smoking is the number one preventable cause of illness in Oklahoma,” Cox said. “This policy change will impact all Oklahomans through higher health care costs and insurance rates created by tobacco-related illnesses. I hope the Department of Corrections will rethink their position and drop this short-sighted policy change.”

Share |