Smoking Breaks Are Good For You

While smoking might not be, the frequent breaks from work are.

Regular breaks during the day aren't just for smokers.  Non-smokers also need to take breaks away from their desk, particularly if you spend much of your time seated in front of a computer.  Productivity drops the longer you spend on a task, so more frequent breaks will actually increase your productivity.

Cary Cooper, a professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University says British workers work the longest hours in the EU, often in front of a computer, but are among the least productive.

However, Breckland Council in Norfolk have now made it compulsory for workers to clock in and out when they take a smoking break.  William Nunn, leader of the council, says the move was initiated by the smokers.

"This all came about when staff contacted our HR team because they were confused about what the policy was on clocking out for smoking breaks. Some of the smokers were concerned because many of them, 54% it turned out, clocked out."

The average smoking break may last for 4-5 minutes and occur several times a day.  According to research by, smokers take roughly an hour each day for their smoking break in four, 15-minute breaks a day.  An earlier study in 2003 by Croner Consulting estimated this as three, 5-minute breaks.

Should regular breaks be part of good working practice or should employees be penalised for taking 'smoking' breaks from their work?

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