Smoking Claims

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Three former Kansas prison inmates claim their health was damaged because they couldn't smoke behind bars.

They're asking legislators to authorize payments of $100,000 each for the stress and discomfort they allegedly suffered.

A legislative committee heard the cases of Elsa Blair, Robbie Clem and Constance Woods. They were serving time last year when the Kansas Department of Corrections imposed a smoking ban at its prisons. All three were released from prison after filing their claims last summer.

Each said not being able to smoke posed an unreasonable risk to their health, because of mental anguish, pain and suffering for what they contend was severe withdrawal.

But the state says there's no right to smoke, especially in prison.