Anorak News | It’s Smoking Bans That Cost Money, Not Smoking Breaks

It’s Smoking Bans That Cost Money, Not Smoking Breaks

by | 4th, March 2014

smoking is good for you


WE’VE the usual suspects out today trying to tell us that smoking is very very bad indeed and all who do so must be held to account. The particular method today is to show how much production is lost by people going off on smoking breaks:

Cigarette breaks at work cost British businesses £8.4bn a year in lost productivity of smokers who disappear for a cigarette for 10 minutes four times a day, new research reveals.

Smoking breaks cost employers £1,815 a year for each full-time member of staff who lights up during working hours, according to a study for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

This is of course piffle.

For a start, everyone, smoker or not, gets to take breaks at work. No one at all is actually tied to their chairs for the entire 8 hour day. Indeed, such behaviour would itself be illegal.

Secondly, productivity is increased by having those little breaks. For all, smoker and non-smoker.

But let’s take their incorrect claim as being correct just for a moment. Is it actually the smoking that is causing the productivity losses they identify? Well, no, it ain’t, is it?

It’s the having to step out of the office to have the cigarette which is leading to the productivity losses. Thus it’s not in fact the smoking breaks that are causing the loss, it’s the ban on smoking while sitting at your desk that is.

So the correct intro should be “Smoking ban at work costs British business £8.4 billion a year”.

Which isn’t really, the point they’re trying to get across, is it?

What is cheering though is that all of the comments at The Guardian are ripping the calculation to shreds anyway. There is hope for us all yet.

Posted: 4th, March 2014 | In: Money Comment | TrackBack | Permalink