Smokers suck up $6,000 extra a year

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One in five Canadians smoke, and take an average of 60 minutes a day for smoking breaks.

This equates to 30 working days per year. For someone on the average Canadian salary of $46,500 that’s about $6,000 for lighting up.

Research from ASH UK suggests that the average smoker also takes five more sick days per year than the non-smoker.

It’s costly to smokers too, and not just the price per pack. Health insurance is higher, and their expected lifespan is almost 10 years shorter than their non-smoking friends and family.

Establishing/reinforcing workplace smoking policies
In designing a smoking breaks policy, it is not only the needs of smokers that HR must address, but, importantly, also the rights of the non-smokers and of course the company’s bottom line. It should firmly establish where the business stands on when (or if) smoking breaks are permitted and of what maximum duration they can be, and put a number on how many breaks would be “too many”.

Issues which may be considered in a smoking policy include:


  • A statement that the organization operates in a non-smoking environment, and whether the organization will accommodate the needs of smokers
  • If smoking breaks are permitted, HR must decide on whether to take a restricted or unrestricted approach: the latter would state that the privilege would be removed if abused, and the former that smoking is only permitted during designated break times (e.g. lunch break)
  • List of designated smoking areas and a request that butts are disposed of properly
  • A statement of support to employees who wish to quit smoking — whether by providing access to quit programs or by subsidizing quitting aids (e.g. chewing gum, patches)

World No Tobacco Day will take place on 31 May 2012.

  • Marie-France on 2012-04-27 11:07:01 PM

    I am a smoker and can not really argue with the research but I would like to point out that most smokers talk about work when we are on a smoking break. I would also like to point out that I have often left for a break passing employees talking about their private life and they were still at it when coming back. Soooo, you do the maths on that one.

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