Surgeon General's Warning

Mikey 9 comments
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Surgeon General's Warning

Under new legislation which will likely be passed soon, workers could face disciplinary action if they smoke during business hours except for when on their own lunch breaks. Continued offences could even result in losing your job.

The new law will be welcomed by business owners who perhaps unknowingly can already enforce a no smoke break policy into their work place but curiously do not enforce one.

This author in particular sees it as a positive change, and hopes the ban will also extend to areas such as shopping centre entrances and parks although there is currently nothing on the table with regards to these locations.

I for one hate the fact I can't walk in or out of a shopping centre bombarded without being bombarded by the stench of passive cigarette smoke. These inconsiderate morons should have the common decency to not smoke in public thoroughfares; especially when parents have children and babies with them.

I have 2 daughters, one 2.75 years and the other 9 months who have been exposed to second hand smoke in places you would not expect - like the aforementioned shopping centre and at the local park. Yes hard to believe, but on the weekend we had to move away from another inconsiderate moron who though it was fine to be smoking in the playground among the children while they played.

I don't hate all smokers and I do know some considerate ones. These are the ones who go to great lengths to conceal the fact they smoke, but dropping a breath mint right after afterwards or by going somewhere where they will not disturb others. Or by staying back after work to make up for the time they smoked away during the day.

But I digress; the new law is not about making things nicer for non smokers, although this can be considered a side benefit and also makes for a fairer work environment when all employees are actually working the same amount of hours.

The real agenda is of course to tackle the amount of lost productivity caused my smokers who take several breaks per day. On average, each individual smoker accounts for close to 5 days worth of smoke time per year, based on 6 breaks per day of 5 minutes each. Average this out over 10 employees and the employer has lost 50 days worth of lost productivity per year to a tar infested black hole.

There will no doubt be backlash from the smokers who are currently used to only doing 87.5% of a real days work. But when you examine it carefully there are far more positives than negatives.

It's for everyone's good.
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Wednesday 4th October 2006 | 06:46 PM

We have about 15 smokers who take 6 - 8 breaks a day for up to 10 minutes each. When I asked my boss if I could finish work an hour early every day he said no. I dont know why spkoers get special treatment. Would a boss let a druggie take an hour off every day to feed his addiction? I doubt it. It amazes me how smokers can be given special treatment just because they have an addition. Bring on the ban.

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Wednesday 4th October 2006 | 06:49 PM

well i do smoke and if my boss is stupid enough to let us take breaks during teh day then I am going to take them. blame the bosses not the smokers.

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Wednesday 4th October 2006 | 10:09 PM

nice one good to see someone who agrees with my opinion. when do these laws come into affect and how will they be policed? I guess it will rely on non-smokers dobbing in thier colleagues?

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Friday 6th October 2006 | 09:03 AM

This is such a good idea. Its no so much that the smokers in our office work less hours than me its hate it how every hour or 2 they take a smoke break and come back inside and make the office stink with thier awful smoke breath! And I end up smelling like I have been smoking! Its such a disgusting habit. Hey to any smoker out there - don't you realise you make other people and the office stink as bad as you? Do you care? Probably not. Mind if I come over to your house every 2 hours and fart?

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Sunday 8th October 2006 | 12:45 AM

Cant wait till these laws come in and yes i will be "dobbing" in my fellow colleagues. Will be even better when smoking is only allowed in your home. Worst habbit ever, pffff with addiction its all upstairs. Its also very unfair on non smokers. They are the ones who should get a breath of fresh air, atleast at my old work place they had "smoko" breaks for smokers and non smokers. It doesnt bother me if i get a break or not just find it unfair that people who are killing themselves willingly get to do it and get paid for it.
my $0.02c

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David Williamson

Tuesday 10th October 2006 | 12:31 PM

I agree and disagree with various parts of your article, Non Conformist. I think you're right that it is rational that smokers should not get special treatment in the workplace due to a personal decision that they have made. However, I can't see how this is the concern of the government. Business is business and as long as smoking is legal (it is despite the social cues that would have one think otherwise) it is not the government's place to interfere with decisions made by business owners (who can, more or less, run their operations how they choose and rightly so) or by indviduals. I see this as yet another example of the chipping away at the ability of the average person to make free, adult decisions.

I find it disturbing that when the government steps into spheres that it clearly doesn't belong (in this case policing the legal decisions of its constituents) the overwhelming response is one of satisfaction. As if it was about time we did something about this. We can't have it both ways. If smoking is legal that means we have decided, as a society, that it is a behaviour that we can tolerate, if not accept. The concerns that you raise about the unintended side effects of smoking on the general population may be troublesome but they are not arguments for stricter and stricter legislation. They are arguments for prohibition. Once we decide that the costs to society outweigh the benefits to the individual we should outlaw cigarettes, but until then we are a part of a social understanding that smoker's have the right to smoke.

You say that you don't hate all smokers and that the ones you don't hate are the considerate ones who try to hide their habit. The idea that a person has to hide their legal pastime to not be hated is startling to me. I'm not a smoker, I would never smoke, and I don't recommend that other people do either. But I can't, in good conscience, advocate that a certain demographic of society be punished simply for being a part of that demographic, seeing as we have said that it's o.k. to do this. This applies moreso to the mammoth cigarette taxes (which, by the way, are clearly an incentive for the government to keep cigarettes legal and makes this law all the more laughable) and other social punishments smokers endure rather than to the spirit of this particular law.

With regards to the original point about the content of the law, I think it's fair to ask your employees to all be on the same playing field. An employee's personal decisions should not affect how they are treated in the workplace. And the workplace should be neutral to these kinds of considerations. But if the playing field is to be levelled it should not be by bureaucrats who want to see their approval ratings go up, it should be by the employers who have a vested interest in keeping peace in the workplace, and they should be able to do so autonomously.

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Saturday 11th November 2006 | 02:24 AM

Nice work. It is a shame that the law has not been extended even more. Take parents that smoke around their children, take the car for example, is that not as damaging to those children's health? Is that not a form of child abuse? You are absolutely right about having to walk in and out of public buildings to a light smog of smoke . Do these people not realize that its offensive and damaging those who do not smoke? At what point does a non-smoke have a right to defend him or herself from this attack on their health? Regardless, these laws and more should be put in place to help those that can not help themselves (babies, children, those that inhale second hand smoke as they leave a building). If you want to smoke and destroy your own health feel free, however do not do it in places where it will harm others that want to be healthy.

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adam reker

Thursday 8th November 2007 | 11:51 AM

I love smoking i do it 24 4 7

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Nathan R

Thursday 5th June 2008 | 11:28 PM

You guys are a bunch of cry babys---law states that at least a 1/2 hour break and 2-15 minutes break per 8 hour if non smokers decide to work through those breaks, your loss.
I smoke, and i am a conderate smoker, but if i am standing somewhere smoking, and you walk past me, its not me you should be mad mad at yourself, walk around, go the other way, i was there first. i shouldnt have to move.
man, non-smokers are the biggest bunch of babies!!

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