Following a proposed plan to ban smoking inside Britain's jails, thousands of hardened prisoners are facing the seemingly impossible task of trying to make the e-cigarette, an alternative to real smokes, look 'tough'.
Prison officials, who have responded to claims of potential legal action by staff who have suffered the effects of passive smoking, have announced that a pilot is expected to begin next year, with a ban likely by 2015, leaving inmates with little time to work on pulling tough-guy poses whilst puffing on e-fags.
'I could make Chihuahua dressed in a pink tutu look hard, but even I might struggle with this', explained convicted armed robber and kidnapper, Tommy "Snakes" O'Sullivan. 'I've got a rep to look after in this place, not to mention a string of pen-wives to excite. I'm hardly going to send pulses racing with a plastic stick in my mouth with a blue light comically flashing on the end. No chance, my son'.
'E-fags just don't do it for me', said Trisha Perkins, currently dating a serial killer in HMP Altcourse, Liverpool. 'I don't seek dangerous partners behind bars for their "healthy living lifestyles". I want a muscly, spitting and swearing, chain-smoking hard-nut, not an e-fag-puffing health geek'.
In a further assault on the classic prison hard-guy image, plans are also in place to ban visible tattoos, which are set to be replaced with the more visually pleasing 'henna transfer tattoo', an organic and none-permanent alternative. Prisoners will be given access to a catalogue of designs to choose from, which can include classic Asian peace and love symbols, and various lovely floral designs.