I read this morning that a Japanese company was now giving non-smokers six extra days off each year. Apparently, the non-smokers complained that they were working more that their co-workers who smoked, i.e., took smoke breaks.
Everyone knows the dangers of smoking. It’s not rocket science. The first Surgeon General’s report on smoking was in the 1950s and they say it’s worse for you now because there are more chemicals in cigarettes, along with the nicotine.
In the 1970s, the correlating danger of second-hand smoke was brought to the public’s attention and not long after that, one would be offered a choice of “smoking” or “non-smoking” in various venues. That was followed, naturally, of smokers claiming to be discriminated against.
I’ll say it straight out—it’s a bad habit. So are a lot of things. This one, however, does indeed effect everyone around the smoker at the time it’s being done. Overeating doesn’t; alcoholism doesn’t. While these habits may interfere with others’ rights at a later date, they are not so, if you will, “in your face.”
I know a lot of people who have had cancer; only one or two were smokers. The CDC lists the following causes of death in the US, annually:
•Heart disease: 633,842
• Cancer: 595,930
• Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 155,041
• Accidents (unintentional injuries): 146,571
• Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 140,323
• Alzheimer’s disease: 110,561
• Diabetes: 79,535
• Influenza and pneumonia: 57,062
• Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 49,959
• Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,193
On another section of the CDC website, they attribute 480,000 deaths to smoking; this ranks smoking as Number 3. Certainly, you could argue that smoking doesn’t help any of these diseases or illnesses and may well cause some of them, but it’s not listed as its own, per se.
As an interesting side note, gun deaths by homicidal maniac aren’t listed at all . . .
But, as often, I digress. Let’s go back to Japan:
I’m a smoker. And I’m a lot more productive at a desk when I can smoke. If I’m thinking about when I can take a smoke break, or trying to get my brain to fire on all cylinders, I’m a lot less productive.
So I’m thinking, why not have a smoking section in the office? Surely Japan, of all places, could come up with a really good ventilation system. Smokers would probably double their productivity on the clock—heck, they might even end up being the ones to get the extra days off!