SMOKING AT WORK 5


I read an interesting article in the Weekend Argus of 15 March 2014, THANK YOU FOR NOT SMOKING AT WORK Tony Healy discussed smoking at work in his article. He said that employers are entitled to impose a ban or reduce pay for breaks taken. I am sure that smokers were and will be up in arms when they read this.

Smokers are entitled to smoke before and after work, during their lunch and tea breaks. This is unfortunately not happening in most instances.

My husband was a smoker and quit smoking about 20 years ago. He never smoked at work because he had to see clients during the day. He only smoked after work and over weekends. I always admired him for not smoking at work. 

There are people that take extra smoke breaks which can total up to 3 weeks of working hours. The question is: Is this fair towards non-smokers? When one does not keep to the rules they are not meeting their employment obligations.

I have heard of companies that do not allow their workers to smoke on their premises and smokers need to stand and smoke outside the gates. Personally I feel this is a bit harsh but also feel that the working hours of smokers and  non-smokers should be equal.

 I am sure that you can guess that I am not a smoker but I do have empathy for smokers and there are many smokers that work just as hard as the non-smokers. They also have respect for non-smokers.

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5 thoughts on “SMOKING AT WORK

  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    Celeste, I believe that one should not generalize.  I do not believe that all smokers are ‘stealing’ time from their companies.  i am sure there are many people that do not smoke and sit at their desk all the time but they maybe do less than a smoker that goes for smoke breaks!

  • Claudia Nicholl

    Hi Linzi

    I am a smoker and I don’t agree with you 🙂 (what would you expect?). Unfortunately, “Most chronic diseases of lifestyle are NOT smoking related: high blood pressure being the most prevalent non-occupationally induced illness in the workplace, heart disease, lung disease, cancers, stroke, etc.  If we analyse the causes of long term absenteeism, medical aid claims and disability claims, the evidence shows a high correlation with smoking.” Not true. Most of those diseases are stress related, except for lung disease (TB) caused in South Africa mostly by the environment. Smoking is an easy scapegoat, but often not the true cause for above mentioned illnesses.

  • Johan Venter

    I’m not a smoker, and I don’t support smoking at work. However, I have a number of staff members that do smoke at work and I expect them to deliver the same results as their colleagues that do not smoke. The “three weeks” of working hours shouldn’t be the measure, the measure should be their output at the end of the measurement period. (The unfairness probably comes into play where a team’s output is measured and not an individual’s, but in my experience: Teams have very effective mechanisms to bring shirkers back into line.)  

  • Linzi Smith

    Hi Everyone, I think that we are missing the point here. Smoking is bad for health. When the law was passed to restrict smoking to certain areas, it was done purely on the basis of trying to reduce health costs in the nation. 

    If we look at research and all the diseases that are directly and indirectly to smoking, then we see the rationale behind the legislation. Most chronic diseases of lifestyle are smoking related: High blood pressure being the most prevalent non-occupationally induced illness in the workplace, heart disease, lung disease, cancers, stroke, etc. If we analyse the causes of long term absenteeism, medical aid claims and disability claims, the evidence shows a high correlation with smoking. 

    So workplace non-smoking policies should be seen in the light of the employer trying to place as many restrictions on smoking as possible in order to make it more difficult for smokers to smoke and thus to be more likely to try and give up smoking. Sadly most smokers see such policies as punitive. 

  • Celeste Maxime Lackay

    Hi Wilma

    I am sorry to say it, but I am a smoker and do smoke at work.

    That being said however, I don’t in any way feel that I am conning my employer due to the fact that we all take our tea at our desks and very seldom (if ever) take our lunch, preferring instead to stay at my desk.

    I smoke on average 5 cigarettes during work hours (at an average of 3 minutes/cigarette) which in fact means that I am owed 225 minutes every week.

    I am aware that this is not the case with every smoker and therefore feel it is the employers’ right to control this practice in the best way they see fit. (For my money, forcing people to stand outside gates actually leads to them taking a longer smoke break because they inevitably spend more time outside chatting.)