30 Sep 2011

Prisoners ill on quit-smoking patches, lozenges

7:43 am on 30 September 2011

Three months after a smoking ban took effect in prisons, there are reports of ill health among some prisoners due to overuse of nicotine replacement patches and lozenges.

Arohata Prison in Wellington says excessive use of patches has led to vomiting and diarrhoea for some inmates, while others are consuming lozenges like peppermints.

The main prison guards union, the Corrections Association, says it knows of one inmate who spent three days in hospital after taking 20 lozenges during a game of rugby.

The union says it fears what might happen when the medication is removed.

But the Corrections Department says prisons are not about to cut off the supply and prisoners are constantly assessed while their medication is progressively reduced.