The Vanderburgh County sheriff has banned all nicotine products from the jail. Here’s why.

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Evansville Courier & Press on 01/17/2023 by Houston Harwood

EVANSVILLE — More than 25 years ago, then-Vanderburgh County Sheriff Ray Hamner banned tobacco products from the jail after studies published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proved second-hand smoke caused cancer.

In the immediate aftermath, those incarcerated at the jail had access to popcorn and carrot sticks as a substitute, according to a 1993 Courier & Press article, and the sheriff framed the ban as yet one more incentive for people to stay out of jail.

Starting in 2021, the Vanderburgh County jail brought nicotine back, but instead of smokes, people were able to buy oral nicotine pouches from the commissary. The small pouches were designed to be placed between the upper lip and gums, allowing nicotine to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

That short-lived experiment is now over, according to Vanderburgh County Sheriff Noah Robinson, who vowed to rid the jail of nicotine during his 2022 campaign for sheriff.

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