A Northeast Tennessee jail now allows inmates to use e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking, which is banned in jail.

The Greene County jail started selling electronic cigarettes to inmates back in September. Sheriff Steve Burns saw the tactic used by other counties, and is now giving it a try.

They are sold through the jail commissary. Profits from that jail store help with the facility's general fund.

The sheriff hopes they lower the amount of contraband cigarettes in the jail, which can be time-consuming to find.

We've learned inmates buy a total of about 20 e-cigarettes a day. Inmates are able to smoke these anywhere around the jail.

Sheriff Burns says they are still in the early stages of the experiment.