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Smokers spend one-year of working life lighting up

Wednesday 29 September, 2010

Employers are being reminded they have a real opportunity to increase workplace productivity by helping their employees quit, after a new survey revealed the average smoker spends more than a year of their working life on cigarette breaks.

The research, conducted by, surveyed 2,500 adults in Britain and found smokers take on average four 15-minute breaks daily, adding up to 240 hours of ‘smokos' each year.

That means 1.2 years spent on smoking breaks during work hours over the course of an average working life (44.5years).

Quit Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said the survey added to existing evidence that smoking leads to lost productivity in the workplace, as smokers are more likely to be absent from work than non-smokers.

"We know the majority of smokers want to quit the habit, so employers can provide support to help smokers achieve this."

"They could ring Quit and organising a Quit course in their workplace or think about providing cheap or free nicotine replacement therapies." Ms Sharkie said instead of employees taking a smoko, employers should encourage them to take a "quitto".

"During that 15-minutes when smokers would usually have a cigarette, employers could encourage them to call the Quitline (13 7848) and look at options around how they can stop smoking."

"The employees could ask for a Quit pack to be sent free of charge or they could speak to one of our trained advisors who have had lots of experience helping people quit."

In some workplaces, quitters have been successful when they've paired up with another quitter so they can support each other when cravings become difficult to handle.