SMOKING will no longer be allowed in Scotland's prisons, with a ban on tobacco taking effect on Friday.

The Scottish Government said the ban is a further step towards its goal of creating a "tobacco-free generation" by 2034.

Extensive preparation work was undertaken ahead of the implementation of the ban, with vaping devices issued earlier this month.

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The kits will be provided free to prisoners for a two-month period before being sold at a discounted rate until April.

Prisoners will then have to pay the normal price for e-cigarette equipment.

Scottish Prison Service chief executive Colin McConnell said: "I fully understand how difficult it has been, and will continue to be, for many in our care to give up smoking and that is why we are committed to working alongside our partners in the NHS to provide every support possible to assist them.

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"Having a smoke-free prisons estate in Scotland will bring significant improvements to health, quality of life and sense of well-being, and assist in the reduction of health inequalities for all those in our care."

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: "Smoking kills around one in five people in Scotland, and four times as many people smoke in prisons as across Scotland as a whole.

"Providing a smoke-free environment in prisons will help create a Scotland where we reduce the use of and harm from tobacco and help achieve our aim of a tobacco-free generation."

Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, said the ban could lead to wider drug use in prisons.

He said: "Evidence from England suggests that banning smoking completely has serious unintended consequences because it can fuel violence and increase the use of illegal drugs.

"Vaping may satisfy some prisoners but for many people vaping is still no substitute for smoking.

"Why not offer e-cigarettes to those who want to quit, and allow them to vape in their cells, but permit designated smoking areas for those who prefer to smoke?"