Why People Smoke Cigarettes – Five Reasons That Might Surprise You

Impact Of Smoking On The Business
When we consider the impact of smoking on a business we need to consider three key areas of profitability, health of all employees and other people who visit our premises and company image.

Profitability is a major concern for all organisations that employ smokers:


  • 34 million working days are lost to British industry each year due to smoking related sick leave. After all, there are over 50 diseases associated with smoking, so the habit provides a lot of opportunities for sick leave. The cost to the employer is not just on sick pay but also lost productivity and output.
  • Professor Konrad Jamrozik of Imperial College London has estimated that exposure to second hand smoke in the workplace causes around 617 premature deaths in the UK each year.
  • A Canadian study (Health Canada, Smoking and the bottom line, Canada, 1997) showed that the average annual reduction in productivity per employee who smokes is £1,085, increased absenteeism costs £115, additional insurance £37, and smoking areas cost £42 (figures that have significantly inflated over the last 10 years).

The cost of supporting a smoking environment is significant and many companies fail to realise how this impacts the bottom line:



  • Smoking breaks cause interruptions to work flow and can account for one lost day per week.
  • Smokers introduce additional costs for cleaning and redecorating.
  • Cost of space for smoking rooms if used.
  • Special ventilation is required if smoking rooms are used.
  • Increased premiums for health and fire insurance with up to 14% of medical costs related to smoking.  100ml eliquid
  • Increased litigation risks.

Proposals are in place to prohibit smoking in most workplaces in England during 2007. However, Scotland and Ireland have already banned smoking in all indoor workplaces.


Impact Of Smoking On Employees

A staggering 13 million adults still smoke in the UK and whilst the overall trends show the number of smokers are declining, there is a large incidence of smoking amongst younger people. Unfortunately 1 in 2 of these smokers will die of smoking related illnesses.

Staff morale amongst non-smokers is an issue as they consider they receive fewer breaks and have to cover for the time lost by smokers. This often causes resentment towards smoker colleagues. 86% of all employees and interestingly 73% of smokers believe that smoking should be restricted at work (Lader D. and Meltzer H. Smoking related behavior and attitudes. Office for National Statistics 2001).

Smoking affects employees on several levels as summarised below, any one of which can impact their performance at work.

Health deteriorates


  • Heart attack risk increases threefold.
  • Risk of heart disease increases by 70%.
  • Cause 90% of lung cancers.
  • Responsible for a proliferation of other cancers.
  • Risk of type 2 diabetes increases by 2 to 3 times.
  • Cause 1 in 3 deaths by 2020.
  • Cause 13 deaths / hour in the UK.

Reduces sexual performance



  • Reduced stamina.
  • Risk of impotence in men increased by 50% (30 – 50 years of age).
  • Fertility reduced to 72% in women (compared to non smokers).
  • Pregnant women pass effects to unborn children.

Changes appearance



  • Premature wrinkles around eyes and mouth.
  • Skin becomes dry due to reduced blood circulation.
  • Fingers become tobacco stained.
  • Teeth become stained brown and increased risk of gum disease.
  • Smell of tobacco on clothes, car, house and office.

Suppresses appetites



  • Taste buds suppressed leading to unbalanced diets.

Damages children



  • Children are three times more likely to smoke if their parents smoke.

Impairs decision making



  • Reliance on the temporary calming effects of smoking to avoid issues and reduce stress.

Corporate Benefits Of No Smoking


Any organisation that introduces a support programme for smokers as well as initiating a no smoking policy, is likely to experience significant gains in productivity and workplace attendance. These gains far outweigh the costs of any smoking cessation programme and include:


  • Reduced employee sick days due to heart disease, lung cancer, aggravation of asthma, decreased coughing, and reduction of respiratory complaints.
  • The supportive attitude to employee welfare stimulates reciprocal positive attitudes from employees and this helps smoker morale.
  • 71% of smokers want to quit (Lader D. and Meltzer H. Smoking related behavior and attitudes. Office for National Statistics 2001) and this goal is easier for them if their employer creates a smoke free environment and particularly if the employer introduces a smoke cessation programme.
  • Recognition amongst non-smokers that they will also benefit from elimination of passive smoking and seeing increased productivity from the new non-smoking colleagues improves the moral of non-smokers.
  • Creates the corporate image of a caring organisation and this opens doors with environmentally concerned customers.
  • Improved company image (both internally and externally) and possible incremental business from organisations that are environmentally aware.
  • Reduced risk of future legislation and we say future as the law concerning smoking in companies is not exactly crystal clear but that will change.


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