Smokers cost UK employers up to £2.1 billion a year

Why e-cigarettes might be the solution to a loss of productivity caused by smoking breaks. 

Why e-cigarettes might be the solution to a loss of productivity caused by smoking breaks. 

According to the London School of Economics smokers cost UK employers a staggering £2.1 billion every year.

Every annum it costs employers over £3,000 to employ a smoker. People who smoke are more likely to take smoking related sick days and spend on average 100 working hours away from their desk on smoking breaks.  

The financial implications of employing smokers to a business are numerous. Time spent away from the office outdoors taking frequent smoking breaks soon add up and results in a loss of productivity and subsequently profit. Electronic cigarettes are battery operated devices which vaporise a water based e-liquid solution that can then be inhaled by users. E-cigarettes are 70 per cent cheaper than tobacco cigarettes and contain no tobacco and significantly less of the known harmful chemicals from burning tobacco. Electric cigarettes release a water vapour during vaping and pose no risk to other people from second hand smoke. Intellicig are a leading electronic cigarette company based in Manchester who manufacture their e-liquid in the UK.

Intellicig offer a range of e-liquid products in a variety of nicotine strengths. E-cigarettes are legal indoors if approved by the building. As electric cigarettes are battery powered there are no fire risks and it is up to the individual building or office space provider whether they allow the use of e-cigarettes indoors.  

The money lost to UK businesses every year due to smoking breaks and sick days taken by employees due to smoking related illnesses has reached £2.1 billion. According to a recent study the average smoker spends an hour every day away from their desk taking an outdoor smoking break. It is illegal for employers to allow employees to smoke inside the office or enclosed building. Smokers must go outside to a designated smoking shelter away from the office building or outdoors where there are no dangers to other people from passive second hand smoking. If an employee takes four smoking breaks a day each 15 minutes long that adds up to over a year spent away from the office smoking over the course of their professional working life. Could vaping in the office be a solution for businesses?           

Electronic cigarettes could potentially cut out the need for outdoor smoking breaks during the working week. A reduction in smoking breaks and time spent away from the workplace would have a hugely beneficial effect on businesses not just financially but also in terms of increased productivity and office moral between smokers and non-smokers. Non-smokers may resent the smoking breaks taken by employees who smoke throughout the day and view them as extra breaks which as a non-smoker they do not take. Vaping is still relatively new in the UK, although an increasing number of people are now using e-cigarettes it is still a sensitive topic that divides opinion. 

A financial gain for businesses and a cheaper alternative for smokers – could electronic cigarettes be the future?  

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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