Jail offers E-Cigarettes to inmates

SHELBY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) — They don’t look like much, but those at the Shelby County Jail say they’ve seen some big changes because of them.

For the last two years, the Shelby County Jail has been offering inmates the option to buy Electronic Cigarettes or E-Cigarettes from the jail commissary.

Officials say it’s made for a safer jail.

“It has reduced issues within the jail, fighting, contraband coming into the jail such as regular cigarettes,” says Chief Deputy James Frye with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Those in Shelby County believe they’re the only county in the state that offers the E-Cigarettes.

We asked about the cost of the program. They say it actually brings in money, about $17,000 in 2014.

Frye says the E-Cigarettes keep smokers from being agitated because of withdrawal symptoms.

“They’re not bad,” says inmate Thomas Borland. “They help curb the need for a cigarette. I’ve been smoking for 20 years now at least and it helps out a lot. It really does.”

We got a look at what’s inside the jail’s E-Cigarettes.

They’re made by a company specifically for the jail to make sure the materials can’t be used as a weapon.

“There’s nothing in here that can be harmful to the jail itself or a corrections officer,” Frye says.

One of the controversy’s over E-Cigarettes is whether the vapors can be harmful if breathed in second hand.

From what we’ve found, experts are mixed on whether it’s a problem.

“It’s like anything else,” Frye says. “I’ve talked to a doctor and they’ve said those are better for you than a regular cigarette because they don’t contain the toxins of a regular cigarette.”

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