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Open AccessArticle

Inmates with Harmful Substance Use Increase Both Exercise and Nicotine Use Under Incarceration

Norwegian Centre for Addiction Research, Pb 1039 Blindern, 0135 Blindern, Norway
Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, 0318 Oslo, Norway
National Advisory Unit on Substance Use Disorder Treatment, Oslo University Hospital, Pb 4959 Nydalen, 0424 Oslo, Norway
Section for Clinical Substance Use and Addiction Research, Oslo University Hospital, Pb 4956 Nydalen, 0424 Oslo, Norway
The University College of Norwegian Correctional Service, 2000 Lillestrøm, Norway
Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, 0424 Oslo, Norway
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2663;
Received: 16 October 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Substance Abuse, Environment and Public Health)
Exercise is increasingly understood as an important resource for people who engage in harmful substance use, including those in prison. Little is known about how inmates adopt various health behaviors during incarceration, without interventions. This cross-sectional study analyzed self-reports from 1464 inmates in Norwegian prisons in 2013–2014, compared them according to harmful substance use pre-incarceration, and explored changes in exercise and nicotine use during incarceration. Results were presented in accordance with the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) guidelines. Inmates with harmful substance use reported higher rates of smoking, smokeless tobacco, and physical inactivity pre-incarceration than inmates without harmful use. However, inmates with harmful use also exhibited more behavioral changes: they adopted exercise, ceased smoking, and adopted smokeless tobacco at higher rates during incarceration than the non-harmful group, to the extent that inmates with harmful use exercised during incarceration more. Exercise is being taken up by a significant proportion of inmates, and may in particular be a replacement behavior for substance use. However, unhealthy behaviors also begin or are maintained. If prisons were used as an arena to facilitate healthy behaviors, the public health benefits to a marginalized group such as substance-using inmates could be substantial. View Full-Text
Keywords: exercise; cigarette; smokeless tobacco; substance use; health behavior exercise; cigarette; smokeless tobacco; substance use; health behavior
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Muller, A.E.; Havnes, I.A.; Rognli, E.B.; Bukten, A. Inmates with Harmful Substance Use Increase Both Exercise and Nicotine Use Under Incarceration. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2663.

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