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Prison Smoking Banned As of July ’05

California´s prisons are going smokeless – almost.

Governor Schwarzenegger has signed legislation that will ban tobacco use by inmates and staff at the state´s correctional facilities except in staff housing when prisoners are not present and at Indian religious ceremonies.

The ban will take effect next July 1st and cover smoking, snuff and chewing tobacco.

The Department of Corrections already bars tobacco use by inmates in 13 of its 32 adult prison facilities.

The California Youth Authority has banned tobacco use by its wards since the late

1980s, but both systems have smoking areas for staff.

The bill´s author, Assemblyman Tim Leslie of Tahoe City, predicts it will drastically reduce prison health care costs.

But opponents contend it will merely drive tobacco use underground.