As our own Michael Cohen reported here, Florida's prisons shall soon be smoke-and-tobacco free! (Check out his column for the deets.) Todd Wright, writing for NBC Miami, admirably captured what must be every semi-sane person's reaction to this news, writing:
Violence inside state prisons might go up a notch after the state announced it plans to ban smoking for inmates ... Without cigarettes, what will inmates use to trade with each other or pay as a fee for protection or other services? All of a sudden, commissary cookies are going to become a hot commodity.
As will black market snuff, natch.
PRO: Getting rid of tabacky will cut down on inmate illness. Since prisoners, unlike non-criminals, get government-run healthcare, this is good news for tax payers and weak-lunged inmates.
CON: Inmates will live and eat government provided-meals, on average, 13 - 15 years longer than their nicotine-gobbling fellow prisoners in other states. This is bad news for tax payers and suicidal inmates.
PRO: Once our inmates have washed the nicotine out of their systems -- a process which takes two to three weeks of white-knuckled craziness and misanthropy -- their brain chemistry will normalize, and they'll be mellower than those of us whose sanity depends upon semi-hourly puffs.
CON: But man oh man! What about in the interim? There were five smokers in my family's home in Wilton Manors. When we all tried to quit at once, back in 2001, the atmosphere in that house would have struck fear into the heart of the hardest con. I have vague recollections of my dear sweet Mum, dressed in a nightgown, waving a meat cleaver around the kitchen and singing Blondie's "One Way Or Another." She might have just been cooking. I don't know. The memory of the whole doomed experiment is hazy. I remember that we decided to start smoking again after we watched Danny DeVito's War of The Roses on cable and felt creeped out, like he was making a movie about us.
But it's probably a good thing. Smoking is bad, of course, and if cons can keep up the abstinence after their release, they'll have more money in their pockets and fewer bouts of nic-fit inspired misbehavior. And you can bet that those of us smokers who've never been to prison will think long and hard about committing a crime now. You may take our freedom, Florida, but you'll never take our vices.
Follow The Juice on Twitter: @TheJuiceBPB.