Uptight and jumpy, Daryl Claypool fidgeted in his narrow cellblock while watching a game of 500 Rum.
"I used to play cards, but now I don't have any concentration," complained Claypool, a convicted rapist and burglar. "I can't get into it now. I'm letting guys beat me that don't even know how to play."The problem: A week before, Butler County Prison had outlawed smoking. And Claypool, who used to smoke about 100 hand-rolled cigarettes a day (Bugler tobacco, 95 cents a pouch), was dying for a smoke.
Welcome to the lockups of the '90s, where cigarettes - once as much a staple of prison life as bars and bad food - are becoming contraband.
"It's definitely a trend, and I think we're going to see more of it in the future," said Stephen Ingley, executive director of the American Jail Association.
From Seattle to Tampa, hundreds of jails across the country have banned smoking in recent years, including lockups in Utah, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, West Virginia, Georgia and California. Many prisons have set aside no-smoking areas, though few, if any, are completely smoke-free.
At least eight county jails in Pennsylvania have banned smoking in efforts to improve prisoners' health and forestall possible lawsuits, according to Bill Strock, an inspector with the state's Department of Corrections.
More are planning to follow suit, and state-run prisons recently banned smoking in common areas. It is permitted in individual cells.
Maintenance problems are one big reason for the bans.
"You have to take into consideration how smoking contributes to deterioration of facilities. There are burns on furniture, clogging of vents, yellowing of walls," Ingley said.
In addition, there are health and legal concerns: Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that exposure to harmful amounts of secondhand smoke may sometimes vi-o-late a prison inmate's con-sti-tu-tional rights.
The court let a Nevada inmate pursue his claim that being forced to share a cell with an inmate who smoked five packs a day violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Butler County Prison enacted its ban on June 1 because of concerns about the health of the 110 or so prisoners crammed into a jail built to house 49, according to Warden Richard Gigliotti. Smoking also was forbidden in a nearby annex that holds another 20 or so prisoners.
"Our ventilation system is not adequate to take care of the additional problem of smoking, let alone just good clean regular ventilation," he said.
Many inmates contracted bronchitis and pneumonia and weren't getting better because they refused to quit smoking, he said.
Officials prepared the 100 or so smokers - about 75 percent of the inmate population - by slowly decreasing the numbers of cigarettes they could buy in the prison commissary.
In the first two weeks of the ban, officials handed out extra snacks like candy, popcorn, celery sticks and apples to appease inmates.
Nonsmokers like guard John Tilko welcome the fresher air and more sanitary cells. "It was to the point where I'd go home at night and my wife would tell me, `You REEK,' " he said. "It just gets into your hair and your clothes, just that dirty odor."
Still, the loss of cigarettes has caused tempers to flare more easily, inmates said. And some officials fear that depriving inmates of cigarettes - an addiction as well as a form of currency in prisons and jails - may lead to bloodshed.
"I'm a little worried that there may be a major riot someplace and that people will be killed," said Wayne Schmidt, executive director of Americans for Effective Law Enforcement, a nonprofit organization that trains law enforcement officers, including wardens.
Inmates are "so dependent on cigarettes, they've got nothing else to amuse themselves," he said. "This removes their currency. What do you have to bargain, a candy bar? I don't think a Snickers bar is going to have the same value as a pack of Camels."