PHENIX CITY, Ala. —
Inmates at the Russell County Jail in Phenix City are now able to buy electronic cigarettes.
The electronic cigarettes went on sale Aug. 6 for $18 each, Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor told WRBL-TV (http://bit.ly/13MShbB). Taylor said he hopes they will translate to a more peaceful environment where traditional cigarettes are banned.
"One of the things we were looking at is having a calmer, better behaved inmate and I think that will happen with the introduction of the e-cigarette," he told the television station.
He's also hoping they will cut down on contraband tobacco, which is one of the facility's biggest problems.
Many inmates have tried the e-cigarettes and seem to like them, said inmate Tony Brown. The devices are battery powered and deliver nicotine through a smoke-like vapor.
There is no expense to the county, Taylor said, and the jail makes a $4 to $5 profit off of each e-cigarette sold.
The alternative form of smoking is not currently regulated by the FDA, but the station reports officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said they appear to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
Despite that, Dr. Tara Underwood, chair of the Columbus State University department of health, physical education and exercise science, said e-cigarettes are still too new for anyone to be completely sure of the long-term impacts.