Wichita, KAN. -- Sheriff Darren Chambers says he wants to give E-Cigarettes a try.
Electronic cigarettes are powered by a small battery that heats a liquid to create a vapor users can inhale. The user gets nicotine but not the harmful tars found in traditional cigarettes.
Since the first of January jail inmates in Wellington have been able to buy the regular and menthol E-cigarettes through their commissary account for twelve dollars each, which equals about two and one half packs of regular cigarettes.
The jail makes about four dollars profit on each E-cigarette which goes back into the jail budget for supplies like clothing, bedding and other items.
The sheriff says E-cigarettes may help keep things cool for those who smoke. "The jails that have had it for awhile have said that it does have a calming effect", said Chambers. "Their fights have gone down a little bit. And some of the tension is relieved by having them."
These E-cigarettes are especially made by a company for jails. They're soft plastic rather than metal. And the sheriff says so far there have been no problems. It's a win win deal for the sheriff. The taxpayers pay less for jail supplies and inmates like the chance to puff away.
Sheriff Chambers said he's conducting a one year experiment with E-Cigarettes. If all goes well he will consider keeping E-Cigarettes in the jail on a permanent basis.