THE government has been forced to defend a $1.2 million contract to supply cigarettes to Tasmanian prison inmates while pushing an anti-smoking policy.

The revelation comes a week after the government used the health argument to attack the opposition for accepting political donations from tobacco companies.

The tender – worth about $400,000 a year for three years – is for the supply of tobacco products for inmates within the prison system through prison canteens. The tender closes on Wednesday.

Opposition corrections spokeswoman Vanessa Goodwin said that the contract proved the push by Labor to ban tobacco company donations was all about politics, not public health.

“If the government was really morally opposed to cigarettes, it’d be banning them for sale instead of putting out a $1.2 million tender calling for people to supply them,” Mrs Goodwin said.

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