Last week, there was an article on Yahoo News with the headline Going for a smoke? Don’t forget to clock out, and I have to admit, it raised a big smile from me!
I’m really glad that Breckland Council has taken the step to do away with “free” cigarette breaks and hope that all places of work will follow suit because it’s something that has gone on for far too long. Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?
Let’s be generous and say our example smoker works full-time and takes four cigarette breaks during his working day (excluding lunch and designated breaks). Let’s say he takes 5 minutes to smoke his cigarette, but also add 5 minutes for him to get to the designated smoking spot and then back to his desk.
That’s 4 breaks x 10 minutes = 40 minutes.
He has a 5-day working week, so that’s 5 days x 40 minutes = 200 minutes (which is 3 hours 20 minutes) every week.
Lets say he has 8 weeks holiday, so he’s working 44 weeks per year. That’s 44 weeks x 200 minutes = 8800 minutes per year = 146 hours 40 minutes.
Divide that by his working days (8 hours per day) and you have 18 1/3rd days spent smoking whilst at work! And all that time, his non-smoking colleagues are still working…
But it’s not just the smoking breaks that bugs me. SInce the ban came in on smoking in public buildings, it’s been a lot nicer for non-smokers who can now go to the pub without coming hom stinking of cigarette smoke, but I hate having to walk through billowing clouds of smoke as people stand outside buildings to have their cigarette breaks – often holding them at a level that is just right for hitting a small child in the face as they toddle down the street or are in their pushchairs. I also hate being stuck behind several smokers walking down the street – I can barely breathe for choking and if they’re walking two or three abreast, it’s impossible to get past them on the pavement. If the road is busy, there’s no way round them at all. Both my child and I are stuck breathing their second-hand smoke till they respond to my “excuse me, please”.
So here’s what I’d love to see – no smoking on the streets at all. Smoke in the comfort of your own homes, in your car, and in designated smoking spots, but not right on the street where the rest of us have to walk through it. I really hope that’s the way things are headed!
I’d be interested in hearing your point of view, whether you agree or disagree. Please leave a comment below and, if you post on your own blog, please leave a link to your Soapbox Tuesdays post!