Smoke breaks cost firms four hours every week

WORKERS who duck out of the office for quick puffs of nicotine throughout the day end up working four hours less a week than their non-smoking colleagues.

There are about 5500 smokers in Warwick, University of Adelaide figures show, and a study says an average smoker spends 45 minutes away from their work every day on smoking breaks.

Australian researcher Ken Pidd said allowing smokers to take breaks and not allowing non-smokers created animosity between the two groups.

"It does come to the issue where smokers are becoming a minority … and they're getting benefits non- smokers aren't," he said.

Queensland health figures show about 17% of the Darling Downs health area population, which includes Warwick, smoke on a daily basis.

The survey from UK company Voucher Codes Pro said the average employed smoker took smoking breaks that added up to 45 minutes a day and 22 working days in a year.

Dr Pidd, who is deputy director of Australia's National Research Centre on Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce Development, said some industries were worse than others when it came to smoking on the job.

His research revealed some major problems in the hospitality industry, where becoming a smoker was the only way to get a break.


Dr Pidd said it was common for smokers to be allowed breaks but if a non-smoker took a break, they would be told to get back to work.

But Dr Pidd, who used to be a smoker, said new rules being introduced in most workplaces made it harder for people to smoke at work.

Some workplaces have been known to ban smoking breaks altogether while others require workers to move away from company buildings because of the public image concerns.

"There has been a huge shift in attitudes towards it and the culture of it," Dr Pidd said.

"I think as the workforce is ageing, the older people are getting towards the end of their working career and it's easier to bring in those (non-smoking rules) because people are growing up with a no-smoking attitude."

- APN Newsdesk


  • 5500 smokers in Warwick
  • 17% of people in the Darling Downs smok
  • Smokers work four hours fewer a week than non-smokers
  • This equates to 22 working days a year
  • Queensland Health offers program to help workplaces reduce smoking

Visit workplaces.

Topics:  productivity queensland health smoking

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