Jerry Wayne Odom Jr.

Cigarette Breaks

Smokers waste time in the workplace. I work in a 6 story glass building with a large breezeway connecting the second story to another building. Every day we watch as the same people take multiple cigarette breaks through each work day. Many of these people work in the same office together and go out together. Curious about how much work time this particular group of people(5 of them) might be wasting on cigarette breaks I kept a rough estimate of the time they spent over the course of a few days.

Cigarette Smoking wastes your life and your employers time

Each of these individuals spent on average around 30 minutes daily standing around on the breezway smoking cigarettes. Now I don't know how their breaks are rationed out through their day but in our office there are no smokers and we only take a lunch break and very short restroom breaks. Not because we're enforced to do that but because we're working and don't have a nicotine addiction that needs satisfaction throughout the day. These people are costing their employer from 2 to 3 worker hours daily standing around satisfying a rather silly addiction.

Cigarette breaks increase productivity afterwards?

A friend of mine argued that after a cigarette break workers were more focused and worked harder due to being relaxed? I think thats rather silly and probably a myth that smokers derived as justification. Even so if you worked harder for an hour afterwards you still spent time before getting irritated due to the urge then the time smoking so you're still wasting time. Not to mention if you're performing a task you have to focus and re-settle. Quit Smoking its bad for productivity and bad for your life.

Cigarette smokers irritate other non-smoking workers.

This is an update that I'm adding March 1, 2006 after noticing alot of elevator conversation in my building. On three different occasions I overheard non-smoking employees of companies complain to one another about the frequent cigarette breaks of their co-workers. On all three occasions the complaint was made by people from different companies. Not only are the smokers wasting their employers time but they're negatively affecting workplace morale. People work hard and they don't appreciate others taking breaks that they think they need because of a silly and unnecessary addiction.

Hire Non-Smokers over Smokers?

If I were an employer I'd definitely consider hiring non-smokers over smokers for the following reasons:
  • I don't have to monitor smoke break times to insure productivity.
  • Smoking in my opinion wastes time. By rough mathematical calculation I gain man hours from a group of workers who don't have to break for a silly addiction. For the above example the employer would gain 2-3 work hours per day or 10-15 hours per week. Guessing their salary at a value of $15-20 per hour considering my building company make up thats probably going to save at least $10,000 a year.
  • Smokers frequent and unnecessary breaks are not appreciated by non-smoking workers.


People quite smoking and employers quit smoking in your workplace. Its not worth having around for any reasons.
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