Alberta jails are banning nicotine patches because some inmates are smoking them, releasing toxic fumes.

The move follows a complaint from the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees over inmates smoking cigarettesmade fromingredients in the patches, or tea leaves or orange peels.

Air tests showed the smoke was toxic and caused respiratory problems for those exposed to it.

A partial ban on the patches goes into effect on March 2; a full ban will be in place on March 26.

Dennis Malayko, a spokesman with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said it wasn't just the guards who wanted the patches banned.

"Even the inmates that were exposed to the byproduct were complaining to the officers, so it wasn't just the officers alone."

Malayko said inmates will have to kick the habit the old-fashioned way and go cold turkey.

Prisoners were given nicotine patches to try to help them with their addictions after a smoking ban started two years ago.