AN Edinburgh company has won a contract to supply prisoners with e-cigarettes and e-liquid PODs – pre-filled tanks – as the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) prepares to ban smoking in jail.

JAC Vapour is one of the only independent companies outside of China to design and create mainstream vaping devices for people who want to give up smoking.

The SPS Smoke Free Prisons initiative goes live at the end of November and the company has been working closely with the SPS and its smoke free team to design products that meet the specific requirements of prisoners and the service.

As a result of the collaboration they have created a device called the Wee VIM, which was based on one of their newest e-cigarette designs, the VIM.

Both hardware devices will be available to prisoners alongside specially formulated Nicotine Salt PODs in four flavours, menthol, tobacco, blackcurrant and strawberry.

Neil McCallum, JAC Vapour’s CEO, said: “Research has shown that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, so we are delighted to partner with the Scottish Prison Service to support this important initiative, to create smoke free prisons and help both smokers and passive smokers reduce their risk of serious illness.

“It has taken a lot of time and research to create a product that will be suitable for Scotland’s prisoners.

“The devices were created with a number of key things in mind, including cost, reliability and the effectiveness of the products; we also had to look at making it as easy as possible to switch heavy smokers to e-cigarettes.

“To make this process as seamless as possible, we created a special device, coil and POD combination to help with the changeover.

“The power of our devices, JAC Vapour’s flavour S-Coil system, our unique formulation of nicotine salt e-liquid in the PODs, giving a much faster nicotine delivery than traditional e-liquid, means we are confident we have created a product that will aid prisoners during this transition and mimic their old tobacco smoking habit effectively.”

SPS spokesman Tom Fox told Scottish Legal News that nobody will be exempt from the Scottish ban: “After the 30th of November, there will be nowhere in our prisons where anyone will be able to smoke.

“People in the community who are giving up cigarettes, still have the opportunity to smoke in parts of the community. The people in our care won’t be able to smoke at all.

“We are recognising the unique nature of that environment by providing the support we are.”

Devices and PODS will both be available in prisons from later this month as part of a £200,000 initiative to make prisons completely smoke-free.

They will be free for two months, after which they will be sold at a discounted rate until April.

Thereafter, prisoners will have to pay the usual price for vaping equipment.

It is thought that more than 70% of inmates in Scottish jails smoke – a higher rate than the population at large.

In female prisons the figure is believed to be as high as 95%.

When the smoking ban came into effect in Scotland in 2006, it did not apply to prisons, and inmates were allowed to smoke in their cells and some outside spaces.

A medium security jail in Jurby, on the Isle of Man, was the first in Europe to introduce a ban on cigarette smoking ten years ago.

Its six-month pilot had presented “significant challenges” with inmates smoking illicit materials such as nicotine patches, tea bags and banana skins.

However, governor Bob McColm, later described it as a “major success”.