Smoking among female prisoners: an ignored public health epidemic

Addict Behav. 2004 Feb;29(2):425-31. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2003.08.014.


The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) surveyed 866 female prisoners about tobacco use and interest in a smoking cessation program. The 27-item questionnaire assessed basic demographic information; type of tobacco used, amounts and frequency of use, triggers for use, health status, family tobacco use and health status, money spent on tobacco products, cessation attempts, motivation and self-efficacy for smoking cessation, and interest in participating in a smoking cessation program. The majority of female inmates (73.9%) were current tobacco users and 71.5% smoked cigarettes, with a mean of 14.6 cigarettes per day (cpd). Approximately 12.5% of current smokers reported a tobacco-related medical problem. Most (60.6%) had made at least one attempt to quit smoking and only 24.5% felt "very confident" that they could quit if they made an attempt. Overall, 64.2% of the smokers reported interest in participating in the smoking cessation program, with heavier smokers (71.4%) reporting the most interest in enrolling in the program. The high percentage of current tobacco users, high level of interest in smoking cessation, and presence of smoking-related health problems indicate a tremendous public and correctional health problem that is being ignored.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mississippi / epidemiology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Public Health
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires