Fewer people are smoking now, which is good. They're probably going to live longer, according to science.

But with fewer smokers comes fewer people taking smoke breaks. And while that also seems like a good thing, a new survey says that's opening a divide and creating some jealousy.

In short, nonsmoking workers who see that some of their colleagues are leaving work for smoke breaks are beginning to tally the time--and to believe that they should be rewarded with more time off to make up the disparity. 

Halo, which makes e-cigarettes, surveyed 1,000 U.S. workers to ask how much time they thought smoking workers wasted, and whether nonsmokers should be compensated.

I admit, as a nonsmoker, that it's never occurred to me to think about either of these questions.

But when Halo asked--and when it dangled the example of a Japanese company that apparently started giving its nonsmoking employees six extra days of vacation time--well, it apparently got a lot of nonsmokers thinking.

I share this whole thing more as a point of interest rather than as a scientific study. Here's what Halo found:

  • Add up all the time that smokers spend outside on smoke breaks, and it works out to about six full days per year on average.
  • People in the technology, wholesale, and retail fields spent the most time smoking: 20.5 days total in a year. 
  • Male smokers said they'd be incentivized to quit smoking if they were given an additional 12 days of vacation per year for doing so; women said they needed 11 days.
  • About 80 percent of nonsmokers believed they should get extra vacation time to make up for the extra time off that smokers take during breaks.
  • Perhaps most surprising, 60 percent of smokers agreed their nonsmoking colleagues should get more vacation than they do.

The best choice, however? Don't start smoking to begin with. As I reported earlier this year, a new study finds that "on average, smoking a pack a day reduces lifespan by seven years," according to its lead researcher.