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.