So, it has now been suggested that, in advance of the smoking ban on 1 July 2007, smokers should be given time off work to quit the habit.
Tell me this, then? Whilst all the nicotine addicts are off work, just whom do they think is going to do all the bloody work? Yep, all the poor non-smokers. Will they get any extra pay to take account of the extra work they'll be doing? I very much doubt it.
Years ago, I worked at a firm where smoking was allowed in the office. Several people complained, so the boss ordered that all smokers had to go outside to get their fix. It made the office environment so much nicer. However, the smokers used to be outside for about ten minutes a fag, at least four times a day. So they got an hour's dinner and 40 mins fag time. Yet, if any of the non-smokers got caught idling by the coffee machine for two minutes, they got lambasted.
On one occasion, my boss made a sarcastic comment about me not doing my work and said "what exactly are you doing then?" To which I replied "I'm having my fag break." "You don't smoke!" He said. "No, I don't, but if they can have 10 minutes away from the desk once an hour, so can I." He looked me up and down, smiled and said "OK, yeah, fair enough, but don't take the piss". I think I made my point.
I think it's great that smoking is going to banned in public places and workplaces; I might even start going out to the pub more often when I can guarantee I won't come back stinking like a stale ashtray. However, I don't see why the non-smoking workers should have to suffer workload-wise so that the smokers can give up outside the office. Surely the best place for them is IN the office, where they're not allowed to smoke - no temptation to light up there.