published Monday, April 7th, 2014

East TN jails say e-cigarettes help keep order

  • photo
    At least two East Tennessee jails have started allowing inmates to smoke electronic cigarettes, saying they cut down on disturbances and a contraband trade in regular cigarettes.
    Photo by The Knoxville News Sentinel /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

At least two East Tennessee jails have started allowing inmates to smoke electronic cigarettes, saying they cut down on disturbances and a contraband trade in regular cigarettes.

Claiborne County Sheriff David Ray told The Knoxville News Sentinel the electronic cigarettes can't be taken apart or used as weapons. Still, inmates have to turn in their used e-cigarette in order to buy a new one.

Ray said they cost $10 each in the commissary. One e-cigarette is the equivalent of two-and-a-half packs of regular cigarettes.

Greene County Sheriff Steve Burns began allowing inmates to use e-cigarettes in August. He says there has been a decrease in fights since then.

Ray agreed, saying the jail doesn't make a big profit on the e-cigarettes, but they help keep the peace.

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