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Ga. to ban smoking at mental hospitals and prisons

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ATLANTA - Beginning next year, patients at Georgia's mental hospitals and inmates in the state's prisons will no longer be able to light up.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a plan to ban smoking at the seven hospitals is set to take effect Jan. 5, while the ban in prisons will be phased in during the next year.

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities said the move is designed to make the patients and facilities healthier. But some mental health experts say it's not a good idea to take away a coping mechanism from a person already in emotional distress.

National statistics show that some 75 percent of people with mental illness or addictions smoke. Tom Wilson, spokesman for the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, said people with serious mental illness tend to die 25 years younger than the general public in part because of their smoking.

The Department of Corrections ban aims to save taxpayers money in inmate health costs and will protect other inmates from secondhand smoke, Commissioner Brian Owens told the newspaper.

Beginning Jan. 1, smoking and tobacco use will be banned at two diagnostic centers where inmates are evaluated when they are moved from county jails to state prisons. The Augusta State Medical Prison, which houses the sickest inmates, will follow suit July 1. And tobacco products will be banned in all state prisons starting Dec. 1, 2010.

The department plans to offer quitting aids to interested inmates.

Comments (25) Add comment
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gnumbgnuts
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gnumbgnuts 11/10/09 - 08:59 am
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Harley, you ever been hemmed

Harley, you ever been hemmed up in a car with a nasty smoker? Spew this bs somewhere else.

ispy4u
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ispy4u 11/10/09 - 09:01 am
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This should have been done

This should have been done years ago. I dare a Republican come forward defending an inmate's right to smoke.

Troubled1
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Troubled1 11/10/09 - 09:14 am
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ispy, you dont have to worry

ispy, you dont have to worry about that, the ones that are so big into defending inmates rights are the dems, not the repubs......republicans realize that inmates have no rights......

JustMe
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JustMe 11/10/09 - 09:36 am
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They are stopping it

They are stopping it immediately in the Mental Health hospitals but are phasing it in, in the prisons why???? Criminals getting special privaleges again.

Troubled1
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Troubled1 11/10/09 - 09:38 am
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justme, the mental health

justme, the mental health hospitals can give out the good drugs to make their patients forget about smoking, the prisons cant......

TechLover
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TechLover 11/10/09 - 10:11 am
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Another brilliant move

Another brilliant move (sarcasm). Smoking priviledges for the psych patients at our hospital are an excellent behavioral tool. Behave, you get the priviledge, act up you don't. Just the threat of taking away the priviledge has prevented escalation of numerous incidents.

Irish
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Irish 11/10/09 - 10:18 am
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yo peeping tom. (ispy) most

yo peeping tom. (ispy) most of the inmates are from your party anyway so you should be willing to defend em......course like most things you'll probably want someone else to do it for you......

eachoneteachone
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eachoneteachone 11/10/09 - 10:28 am
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While they are at it please

While they are at it please remove the TV's and the basketball courts. Inmate should be doing hard labor.

aoking
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aoking 11/10/09 - 10:53 am
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Excellent decision. Smoking

Excellent decision. Smoking should be banned anywhere second degree smoke could affect others. Anyway, mental patients and prison inmates are in those taxpayer supported facilities to be teated and rehabilitated.

posted by taxpayer

mable8
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mable8 11/10/09 - 12:26 pm
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The use of junk science is

The use of junk science is the norm today; it's disgusting to have a few control freaks telling the masses how to live.

merlin
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merlin 11/10/09 - 12:30 pm
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I work at a Community Mental

I work at a Community Mental Health Center in an administrative position but still have contact with the day program patients. We will possibly be going smoke-free soon on all SCDMH property and I don't know if I like the idea of them taking their smoking privileges away. I'm okay with them smoking outside at the designated smoking area. I want better health for them, but they may get ornery if they don't get their smokes. I tell you what though, I will have my guard up when they do this. Troubled1................they already take the so called medicine you're referring to that will make them forget about smoking and they still like to smoke. Most of them are zombies and they still like their smokes. As for inmates, you do the crime, do the time and pay the price. They should have NO privileges.

ispy4u
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ispy4u 11/10/09 - 12:38 pm
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Irish. a little too much

Irish. a little too much whiskey this morning? No post made no sense at all.By the way, you love using that peeping tom bit, as you by the way in the closet or just enjoy hanging around daycare centers?

ispy4u
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ispy4u 11/10/09 - 12:40 pm
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I guess Mable8 by your 11:26

I guess Mable8 by your 11:26 AM you support the inmates right to smoke?

Mike_Futrell
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Mike_Futrell 11/10/09 - 01:00 pm
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As long as the inmates are

As long as the inmates are having their health care covered by us taxpayers... we should have the authority to tell them if they can smoke or not. Good thing the federal government doesn't control our health care or they could make decisions like this for us!

themaninthemirror
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themaninthemirror 11/10/09 - 02:09 pm
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I am under the impression

I am under the impression that every precaution is taken to make sure that prisoners and mental patients do not have any thing in their possession that could cause bodily harm to themselves or others. If this is the case, how are they able to light up? Isn't some form of fire required to light a cigarrette? So, one would assume that either matches or a lighter would be in the possession of both prisoners and mental patients. In either case, it sounds like a deadly cocktail to me! I am surorised this issue was not addressed years ago.

terry67
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terry67 11/10/09 - 02:19 pm
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Actually the Libs are on both

Actually the Libs are on both sides of this BS issue. They defend the right to smoke but yet want it banned in the name of health! Let them smoke in prison, especially on death row....BZZZZZ!
Zapped another one!

corgimom
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corgimom 11/10/09 - 04:31 pm
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My cousin works in a maximum

My cousin works in a maximum security prison that banned smoking. She said it was a rough 2 weeks and then it was ok. It's not so much about second-hand smoke, it's about the thefts and the resulting fights. And the constant worrying if somebody is going to set something on fire. Why would people think it's a good idea to give mental patients and prisoners something that could set a fire?

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 11/10/09 - 07:12 pm
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You make some very good

You make some very good points, Corgi. Still, I think these people have so few other outlets that it is the essense of meanness to deprive them of this perfectly legal activity. Making them smoke only in certain areas out of doors and having to check their cigs at the door would seem a reasonable way to control the dangers and problems you cite. It might be a pain for the staff who have to hand out and take up the smokes, but so what. Let 'em smoke if they want to and can afford to buy them.

Ole School
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Ole School 11/10/09 - 07:33 pm
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ADMIT IT Harleyrider , you

ADMIT IT Harleyrider , you don`t smoke do you ! LOL

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