Steading v. Thompson, et al.

An asthmatic prisoner filed suit claiming that his smoke-filled surroundings constituted cruel and unusual punishment.  Since he filed a class-action suit, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals addressed only the issue of whether Illinois was obligated to provide smoke-free prisons, or at least maintain some smoke-free facilities for prisoners.  The Court ruled that the knowledge that permitting smoking will inconvenience certain prisoners does not satisfy the intent requirement under Wilson v. Seiter, 111 S.Ct. 2321, 115 L.Ed.2d 271 (1991) and that the conditions would be cruel and unusual punishment only if the conditions were specifically devised to inflict punishment.  Nonetheless, “[p]risoners allergic to the components of tobacco smoke, or who can attribute their serious medical conditions to smoke, are entitled to appropriate medical treatment, which may include removal from places where smoke hovers.” See “Tobacco Road,” American Bar Association Journal, November 1991, 85-86; and Rogers, C., “Civil Rights — Second-hand Smoke is not Cruel and Unusual Punishment,” American Journal of Criminal Law, Fall 1992, 163-175.

941 F.2d 498, 6.3 TPLR 2.499 (7th Cir. 1991).