A prison protest at the Springhill Institution in northern Nova Scotia is continuing, with inmates refusing to leave their cells or attend programs in protest of a smoke-free policy that took effect May 20.

There is now a Canada-wide ban on smoking in prisons.

The 480 prisoners at the medium-security facility in the town of Springhill, near Amherst, have been in their cells since last week when they refused to attend morning breakfast.

"They have chosen not to leave their cells to participate in any daily activities," Shannon Oickle, spokeswoman with the Springhill Institution, said Monday. "So, that causes us to move into a lockdown routine. When you hear lockdown, it's not us locking them down, but it's as a result of them not coming out of their cells.

"They are being fed in their cells and recreation is limited due to the nature of our situation."

She said discussions are ongoing with the prisoners.