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Smoking breaks cost employers nearly £2,000

3 minute read
Smoking breaks cost employers nearly £2,000

Published by Lettie Buxton at 12:29pm 11th March 2020.

Smokers could be costing businesses in Surrey and Hampshire more than £1,800 a year by taking smoking breaks.

That is according to One You Surrey - a free service in Redhill funded by Surrey County Council helping smokers to give up - using statistics from the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

It is based on an average of 10 minutes, four times a day during working hours.

The service's engagement officer, Barcley West, told Eagle Radio that over 48 working weeks a year, a smoking employee spends "nearly a full week's work just smoking".

It comes as today (11 March) marks No Smoking Day - a national health awareness day which aims to help people who want to quit.

Mr West added smoking leads to additional sickness leave:

"We know, for example, that each year someone who smokes has on average of about one-and-a-half days extra sickness leave taken per year than someone who doesn't smoke.

"So in that sense, as an employer you'll probably look at the cost of that.

"Also, smoke breaks, for example, if you take an average smoke break of about 10 minutes, if someone smokes 10 a day, they might take four breaks throughout the day.

"We know that's 40 minutes lost in a single day to smoking.

"If you've got 48 weeks in a year, then that employee over those 48 weeks has spent nearly a full week's work just smoking and not actually doing their work.

"Add that on top of the extra one-and-a-half days sick leave as well, the cost of that is quite substantial.

"There was actually a study conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, which showed that smoking breaks could cost employers £1,815 a year for each full time members of staff.

"So if you have, for example, 200 staff members and and 20 of those smoke, that's quite a lot of money, maybe £50,000 per year cost to the employer just for smoke breaks."

One You Surrey runs a 28 Days Challenge to help employees who want to quit smoking, by offering flexible telephone and digital support.

In a full interview with Biz Surrey and Hampshire, Mr West spoke more about the service.