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Ohio smoking ban turns cigarettes into powerful commodity

One year after enacting smoking ban, Ohio prisons assess drawbacks and benefits


By Alan Johnson
The Columbus Dispatch

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A year after Ohio prisons instituted a cold-turkey smoking ban, taxpayers can expect to shell out a little less for medical care for inmates suffering from emphysema and other respiratory diseases.

But the ban - which includes chewing tobacco and snuff - also gave birth to a lucrative contraband market in state prisons. Sources said tobacco has become as valuable as marijuana, with a single cigarette selling for $10, a pack of cigarettes going for $200 and a can of loose tobacco for $300.

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