Tag Archives: smoking

Soapbox Tuesdays – Smoking

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!

Have you ever heard anything so pointless?

I don’t often read the news because it’s usually a combination of celebrity gossip and depressing stuff, but this afternoon an article on Yahoo News caught my eye. The headline read “Pay Pregnant Smokers £10 A Week To Quit“.  The article suggests that “pregnant women who give up smoking should be given a £10-a-week “reward”, according to a political think tank.”

You would think that not harming their unborn child with their bad habit would be reward enough.

If ever there was a good time and reason to stop smoking, it’s because you’re pregnant and want what’s best for your child. I know not everyone can manage it, but surely all pregnant smokers should at least want to try, and not just because of a cash “reward”.

How about a reward for all those pregnant ladies who already don’t smoke?

Let’s take it further.

There are already schemes in some parts of the country that reward parents for making the environmentally ethical choice when it comes to nappies by reimbursing part of the cost of cloth nappies, which is great, but how about rewarding Mums who breastfeed? At the moment it’s all back to front with vouchers to go towards formula when surely it makes financial, medical and common sense to encourage breastfeeding over formula feeding?

I know there are some women who cannot or choose not to breastfeed their babies and that is entirely up to them – I do not refute their right to choose – but from a government point of view, are they really doing enough to promote breastfeeding?

During “breastfeeding week” an advert is broadcast in Scotland about breastfeeding, but you never see it the rest of the year. It’s a shame that breastfeeding needs a national awareness week when it’s something that should really be the norm, after all human beings are mammals – mammals have mammary glands with which to feed their young. That is the true primary function of the female breast. Sexual pleasure is a mere secondary consideration and it’s only the western so-called civilisations that have sexualized the female breast to the point where it is seen as obscene to show them in public. Not that I’m advocating just “whipping them out” when you’re walking down the street, but feeding a baby or toddler is completely different and is completely non-sexual – there is no comparison. A nursing mother’s intention is not exhibitionism, it is the nourishment, comfort and wellbeing of her child that is foremost in her mind and you can bet she’s trying to flash as little of her post-pregnancy flesh as she can manage!

Anyway, to go back to the point I was originally trying to make – there are far better ways for the government to spend money when it comes to pregnancy and motherhood.

They should be channeling it into getting accurate information and proper support to all mothers and making sure that all health practitioners are on the same page, so that the quality of care and information isn’t wildly different depending on which person you happen to see.

It should be channelled into setting up milk banks for premature babies (I would gladly have donated milk form my over-productive boobies when I was nursing Xan, but the closest milk bank to Aberdeen is in Glasgow and they do not collect this far north).

It should be channelled into educating mothers from all walks of life on just how capable they are and what their bodies are capable of doing (really, many would be amazed to discover it’s a very low percentage of women who are genetically predisposed to not producing enough breast milk to nourish their babies, but poor support and inaccurate information which undermines the efforts of a nursing mum result in declining milk production!).

And finally, it should be put towards educating the public to the fact that when it comes to feeding your baby, breast really is best, so anyone who sees a nursing mum should be thinking “Good on you!” rather than harassing her and making her feel uncomfortable.

£10 a week to reward smoking mums for quitting? Come off it! What will happen is you’ll get chancers saying they smoke (or even starting to smoke!) in order to get an extra tenner off the government.

Is that really what we want or need?