Prison Vapes

Posted 18th January 2017 by Dave Cross
A successful electronic cigarette trial in Guernsey prison resulted in trials taking place at other mainland UK institutions. It was generally accepted that the specially designed vape products had a lot to offer prisoners and a part to play in the new smoke-free environments. Unfortunately, problems are being experienced and the company responsible is refusing to be accountable.

E-Burn is a unique type of electronic cigarette that has been designed to offer higher levels of safety to inmates and prison staff than standard products. E-burn was invented by Darren Hayley, who (although not a smoker himself) has lost close relations to smoking-related diseases.

Following a successful trial at HMP Guernsey, E-burn was approved from a health perspective by NOMS/HMPS and attained the Industry Standard of Excellence from the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association (ECITA). 

At the time, Hayley said: “Of course it is better that people don’t smoke at all. It is a difficult habit to break and if they need the help of e-cigs or want to continue Nicotine use, according to Public Health England e-cigs are a 95% safer alternative to tobacco smoking.”

While E-burn is being stocked at Guernsey, and only costs £2.50, a more expensive unnamed £3.60 vaping product (not E-burn) is available for inmates to purchase via a canteen sheet across the rest of Her Majesty's Prisons. The sheet system is operated by a division of DHL but it is meeting with problems. “When I received my e-cig, determined to try stopping smoking tobacco, I opened it in front of staff and found, to my surprise, that it did not work,” says an anonymous prisoner. “The guy from DHL said I would have to fill in a form in order to try and claim my money back. DHL charged me for the item but refused to give me a refund. So, I was stuck with a broken e-cig and no smokes for a week.”

With a captive market in front of them, DHL are playing fast and loose with the legislation put in place to protect consumers (no matter where they may live).

When I inquired further about my refund,” he continues, “I was told by DHL that I should complain to the manufacturers! If my biscuits were delivered by DHL all broken would they tell me to write to McVitie’s for a refund?”

A source has confirmed to POTV that prisoners are experiencing issues with returning their electronic cigarettes to DHL for a refund.

DHL have the responsibility to refund the inmate or replace the product, it is not an issue for the vaper and the manufacturer. At the time of writing, DHL have not responded to a request for comment. Maybe the prison service ought to consider the cheaper and working solution offered by E-burn?

Readers with a good memory might remember the on-going saga of Jailcigs and the mess allegedly created by Sherriff Robert Arnold in Rutherford County, Tennessee. The latest news is that Arnold remains in jail pending his court case on 7th February. Meanwhile, his cousin James Vanderveer has mysteriously vanished from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office. With corruption, wife-battery and tax evasion loaded on top of the charges of conspiracy, fraud, and bribery, it is going to be a juicy trial.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker