Cancer Council WA and the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) strongly support the Department of Justice’s commitment to improving the health of people in prison and staff by making Bandyup Women’s Prison smoke-free.
Cancer Council WA CEO, Ashley Reid, said this was an important opportunity to protect and promote the health and safety of prisoners and Corrective Services staff for decades to come.
“Cancer Council WA and ACOSH have been calling for smoke-free prisons in WA for a long time,” Mr Reid said.
“Not only will smoke-free prisons provide a healthier and safer workplace environment for staff, complying with the Work Health and Safety Act 2020, but it will also create a healthier, safer, and more supportive environment for prisoners to quit smoking.
“We been working with several prisons across WA since 2019 to support both prisoners and staff to quit smoking, so we welcome this announcement.”
ACOSH Chief Executive, Maurice Swanson, said WA is ideally placed to learn from the successful implementation of smoke-free prisons in all these jurisdictions.
“WA is one of the last jurisdictions in Australia to implement smoke-free prisons, alongside the ACT,” Mr Swanson said.
“The Northern Territory was the first Australian jurisdiction to introduce smoke-free prisons in 2013, followed by Queensland in 2014, then Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales in 2015; and South Australia in 2019.
“While smoking has decreased substantially in the general community people in prison continue to be significantly impacted by tobacco use, resulting in poorer health outcomes.
“Smoke-free prisons can reduce mortality rates among prisoners from smoking-related causes, particularly heart and respiratory-related deaths, and cancer in the longer term.”
Cancer Council WA and ACOSH are committed to continuing support Department of Justice by contributing to staff training and education, increasing access to quit smoking support for prisoners and staff, and the provision of evidence-based materials and resources.
People who are thinking of starting their quit journey (or who would like to help someone to quit) can access support by: