Smokers are puffing away productivity

The research found that 30 per cent of those polled spent more than an hour each day getting a nicotine hit.

This equates to more than half a working day per week or a massive 200 hours – or five typical working weeks – per year.

More than half of those quizzed said they spent between 20 to 60 minutes each day smoking, with just 13 per cent taking less than 20 minutes for their fag breaks.

The poll, conducted by electronic cigarette retailer ECigaretteDirect.co.uk, also found that the actual number of cigarettes consumed during working hours varied widely, with the majority of smokers puffing away on between 10 and 20 cigs a day.

Just under one fifth of smokers consumed between 20-30 cigs a day, another fifth puffed away on between five and ten cigs, with just eight per cent working their way through more than 30 fags.

Nearly all of the workers polled admitted that they would be more productive in their roles if they were able to use smoking alternatives such as an electronic cigarette, which are exempt from the smoking ban and can therefore be used in the workplace.

A spokesman from the site says the figures make grim reading for business bosses around the country.

He said: “The cigarette break, just like the coffee break, has been part of office culture for more than a century and many employers and employees alike take them for granted. However, when you actually look at the amount of working hours wasted as staff make their way outside to smoking areas several times a day, it shows just how much they can effect productivity.

“The most prolific smokers we polled were found to waste around five hours per week on cigarette breaks, which is longer than taking every Friday afternoon off. Add that up throughout a typical employment year and this equates to five weeks or more than a full working month off, which is staggering.

“Another problem the breaks cause is the resentment which can often be harboured by non-smokers who feel they are doing more work than their smoker colleagues, which is never good for team spirit or morale.”

He concluded: “There will always be people who crave nicotine and so the solution lies in finding methods which allow users to get their nicotine hit in their workplace – such as using an electronic cigarette or nicotine patches.”

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