13 Oct 2010

Few inmates seeking support to stop smoking

9:00 am on 13 October 2010

Few inmates are taking the opportunity to call New Zealand's leading quit-smoking programme, eight months out from a smoking ban taking effect in prisons.

The ban was announced in June to outlaw tobacco, lighters and matches in jails and takes effect in the country's 20 prisons from 1 July next year.

There are almost 8800 inmates in jails throughout the country, but Quitline took just 39 calls in July, 49 in August and 47 in September.

A call centre adviser at Quitline says he would have expected more calls and questions whether inmates are hearing enough about the ban.

However, the Department of Corrections says the low numbers are expected.

Corrections Minister Judith Collins says she expects inmates' calls to the Quitline will rise significantly in the lead-up to the ban being enforced in July.