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In defence of the cigarette break

Writing on The Free Society website today, author and journalist Philip Whiteley defends the humble cigarette break:

Senior politicians have probably never known what it is like for the cigarette break in mid-morning with a good friend, or the evening after work down the pub, to be the only things to look forward to in a working week. John Reid bravely raised this issue when he was in the Cabinet a few years ago, but got shot down, and sadly there has been no debate since.

Increasing proscription around smoking (I don’t smoke myself, by the way) seems to reflect a materialistic attitude towards human life; as though physical health is the only dimension of health, and that it is our primary civic duty to extend the longevity of our physical bodies.

Full post HERE.

Phil will be writing a regular column for The Free Society. His latest book, Meet the New Boss, is available via his own website HERE.

Reader Comments (24)

"it is our primary civic duty to extend the longevity of our physical bodies."

Absolutely !

Don't want to Be A Burden On The NHS - do we ?

(Round of enthusiastic applause from 'Any Questions ?' audience)

But not for TOO long:

Don't want to Be A Burden On The NHS - do we ?

(Round of almost-as-enthusiastic applause etc)

In the meantime, let's hope that Phil's voice is the Voice of the Future, and not that of a Golden Age...................

Which the Pinky-Blue Androids have NO intention of 're-visiting'.

February 16, 2010 at 12:42 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

We all wear red "1984 party boiler suits".
We all wear blue "1984 party boiler suits".
They shout everyone should wear "yellow 1984 party boiler suits",but we will go along with the other two on most issues ,but hardly anyone does.
It's because they have nothing else to do but pass petty vindictive spitefull legislation.
And the EU does most of that anyway.
That's what it is, the prospect of a big troughing job in Brussels.
They probably think "the Kinnocks" are the pinnacles of success !

February 16, 2010 at 12:55 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

An employee who smokes is far more productive at work if allowed reasonable ciggy breaks, that is logical. If denied the opportunity for a few ciggy breaks, instead of concentrating on work the mind tends to wander off to clock watching to see how long until lunch or going home time which equals the amount of time before being able to have a smoke!

Banning smoking completely from the working day is not cost efficient and would end up costing the country far more than any dreamt up illness caused by smoking! Far more people will end up being off with stress and/or depression and all for the sake of maybe a total of 20 minutes to half an hour each day for a smoking break. It just does not make sense.

Then again, very little, if anything this government has done, makes sense in the real world!

February 16, 2010 at 15:26 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

I think that the working environment has become sooo dreary - I'm not sure that anyone in the private sector, at least, even has proper breaks nowadays and does anyone do business lunches anymore? No jokes in case someone is offended and customer service now only a function of targets (guess who loses?).

I think that I read only recently that the greatest loss of productivity is through 'stress' (for which read anxiety and depression). Is it any wonder in a target-driven working culture which engenders bullying and blame-shifting and constant nagging about eating/smoking/exercise/drinking/climate change/Islamism (is anyone else sick of hearing about Islam or is it just me).

February 16, 2010 at 17:48 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

When I stared working, it was the law to give employees a 10min break in the morning and a 10 minute break in the afternoon. What we did in those 10 minutes was our own business. What happened to that law?

February 16, 2010 at 19:13 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Pat, it is amazing what gets brushed under the carpet when it happens to be convenient!

Years ago most, if not all offices had tea ladies pushing a trolley around and serving tea and biscuits - it was part of the working day and constituted a short break.

And they wonder why so many people are off work with stress today!

The whole work ethic is at fault for which this and indeed previous governments have a lot to answer for.

February 16, 2010 at 19:44 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

I agree with the above comments re: cigarette breaks. However, how will the powers in charge of us cope when many more thousands/millions become unemployed? Just being in employment will become a luxury.

As for those lucky enough (a) be in employment and (b) be lucky to sneak off for a furtive gasper - remember that plans are in motion to stop people smoking at buildings' entrances, in beer gardens and even in private cars - when all this comes into force it will be very difficult to have a cigarette break at all - all part of the 'control' process, I'm afraid.

February 16, 2010 at 21:03 | Unregistered CommenterJenny of Yorkshire

I know a lot round my way who've already been on the sick with stress since the ban on smoking was introduced at their place of work.

I can't see how that can be cost-effective to an employer, and the employer has to pay them long-term sick leave as well as pay for someone to work in their place.

No doubt these facts are ignored when HMG and DoH discuss smokers in the workplace. They haven't got a clue what's going on in the real world and have no intention of learning about it either.

February 16, 2010 at 22:05 | Unregistered CommenterMary

It's obvious isn't it? The Greeks have managed it. Direct action NOT Apathy. Imagine even 100 thousand smokers marching on London. I would think they could fill a good few pubs. Light up on mass.

February 17, 2010 at 0:33 | Unregistered CommenterEnya

You are 100% correct Enya, but this is England/Great Britain/UK. If you could get 10 people willing to stand up for themselves you would be lucky, let alone 100,000.

I feel almost ashamed to say it, but I am British/English, with a bit of Jewish and a bit of Roman ancestry thrown in somewhere in the past. I have been advocating exactly what you say for the past two years or more and so far, I did manage once to get one willing supporter, who said he would like to joining me in a "Smoke In". Boy, that would certainly create headlines wouldn't it, and make the government sit up and take notice as well.....I don't think!

I also suggested a couple of days ago, that all smokers in this country should boycott all tobacco products for a certain period of time, maybe just one day a week. The huge amount of revenue the government would lose if this happened would force them to take another look at this unjust law, it would also make the tobacco companies sit up and do something to help their customers.

But, as you have no doubt guessed, no one, with the exception of one person, bit on this idea, and the reason for that, I am afraid to say, is that the British as a whole, are a nation of cowards!

I hope you, or someone else proves me wrong on this, and manages to galvanise them into a formidable force, but I doubt it very much!

February 17, 2010 at 9:28 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Specky, Lyn, Ann, Joyce, Pat et al -

(Again, I crave Simon's indulgence here)

If it ever occurred to you that our Leaders (in EVERY area of National Life) these days seem more like ROBOTS than the Human Beings they used to be not so long ago, and wondered whether there MIGHT just be a reason for their speaking with SUCH Dalek-like consistency, then THIS link may provide at least ONE clue.

Run the Brian Gerrish video - and see what he has to say about a rather SINISTER group called 'Common Purpose'.

I suspect that Tobacco-use (abuse?) is just ONE of the issues that CP 'graduates' take a COMMON view on, too.

There's a much longer presentation on CP here:

(Actually, all three are worth seeing).

I've only just come upon this site - and somehow felt I HAD to share it with you.

It IS relevant, I think - and you won't be bored.

But you SHOULD (says he presumtuously) be alarmed.

Something else you WON'T be seeing on the BBC.


Brian Gerrish is an ex Lieutenant-Commander (subs) in the Royal Navy: NOT the sort to be swayed by extravagant fantasies.

February 17, 2010 at 9:58 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Martin V - you are spot on re: common purpose and also, these 'robots' have taken over every influential position. That's one of the reasons why folks will not motivate themselves against what is happening. They cannot because they are being demonised by 'their own people'. One of the common purpose missions is to eradicate tobacco smoking.

As Peter has explained - we won't get people taking to the streets and standing up for themselves. Not yet, anyway. Things have not gone far enough yet - but they will. Also, we have already witnessed that the blanket smoking indoor smoking ban will not shake people out of their complacency. However, there is the potential for other issues to do that.

February 17, 2010 at 10:17 | Unregistered CommenterJenny of Yorkshire

Jenny -

Aha !

But I believe we can take SOME comfort from the obvious fact that people HERE (and not just in the States) are beginning to awaken from their slumbers.

And as for those among our fellow-countrymen - and there are MANY - who merely SENSE that Something Is Not Quite Right - we can at least play a part in bringing such things to their attention.

A slow process, I know.

And the National Diet of candy-floss and chewing-gum doesn't exactly help.

In the meantime, OUR 'common purpose' is that of Freedom and Truth.

Is there a nobler cause to fight for ?

February 17, 2010 at 11:26 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

IMHO there is no nobler cause to fight for, Martin. However, it will be a hard slog because those who seek to and actually do distort the truth and limit freedom are in power and have us, at present, exactly where they want us - subjugated and oppressed. What saddens and surprises me is that there are those who are far more intelligent, successful and influential than my humble self who don't think anything is 'wrong' at all. Perhaps that is because 'they' are part of all this and it suits them to maintain power and authority.

I can sense a cigarette break approaching for me now! :)

February 17, 2010 at 13:42 | Unregistered CommenterJenny of Yorkshire

Jenny -

Re the Intelligent Apathetic.

We must give the Devil his due: Mind Control techniques have advanced considerably since the crude 'brainwashing' of American GIs during the Korean War.

Or the hard-sell methods of the encyclopaedia salesman.

And who can resist a Smiling Face ?

Or the Obvious Cleverness of the Expert ?

To some extent, we are ALL the victims of programming - especially when it comes in the form of all that love-bombing by the Caring Professionals.

But, once you REALISE it......................

February 17, 2010 at 14:51 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

In the 1980's when I was studying towards a postgrad diploma in human resource management, there were two management models competing for attention: one was 'the flexible firm' (the cheap option which British management adopted (natch)) and 'the excellent organisation' (which tried to do joined-up management). The latter was exemplified by, among others, ICI. ICI was big on what later became known as 'encounter groups' as a management development technique. These were abandoned because they had such a negative effect on the psyche - they were resulting in real mental health problems in those who attended them. I've always thought that 'Common Purpose' was just another sinister derivative of such groups.

I happened to mention 'Common Purpose' to a business associate who used to work for a bank which sends people on its courses and he admitted that it was par for the course and didn't see anything wrong!!!

February 17, 2010 at 22:16 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Joyce -


'CP' was something I only became aware of a few days ago - thanks to a bit of Internet Serendipity, and Brian Gerrish's wonderful work.

BRAVE work, too.

Now having seen his full-length presentation at a meeting chaired by the admirable Roger Hellmer, I have to admit it: I'm worried.

This confirms ALL my greatest fears and instincts regarding an Enemy Within.

The organisation IS sinister, nasty, heavily Eurocentric (ie 'Global' at one remove) in its approach, cult-like in its methods and philosophy, and will - in time - shut off the Oxygen of Dissent in our once-free land.

And it's infiltrating EVERY level of society, from top to bottom. The fact that even the Armed Forces and the Police are involved is sufficient of itself to cause concern.

As is its insistence that its 'graduates' owe their loyalties to IT, and it ALONE.

We all know (or should) what THAT means.

It is careful to 'groom' only those among its membership who 'fit' - many of them, no doubt, serviceable dupes with malleable egos.

Certain dim-but-ambitious senior police officers, for example.

I make no mention of Cressida Dick.

It is essentially fascist (or marxist) in nature and outlook, but Fabian in its methods - employing the most effective techniques of modern managerialism (or corporatism, if you will).

With a bit of good old NLP thrown in for good measure.

In a word - VERY 'NWO'.

It is obviously NOT just another Californian-based management 'consultancy' with some wacky new ideas on Running Things.

It MUST be exposed.

These people are well-poisoners, and we're fast running out of fresh water...............

(And I STILL don't trust Cameron one little bit - especially now).

February 18, 2010 at 9:24 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V


And all this talk about 'leadership' is faintly disturbing to a bolshie conservative like me, too.

Rather TOO reminiscent of something else from Germany - not so very long ago:



And CP's 'Leading Beyond Authority' sounds - once you cut through the managerial gobbledygook - dangerously like something else:

Bossing People About.

Thanks - but no thanks !

February 18, 2010 at 9:53 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Martin - from what I read, Cameron is a graduate of this (common purpose) - read up about the Frankfurt School. Many of our politicians are members of the Fabian Society (from what I've read). Also read about the Tavistock Institute (I think this is what it's called) as well as the Fabian Society. I think the term you are looking for is 'cultural marxism'.

February 18, 2010 at 11:50 | Unregistered CommenterJenny of Yorkshire

Thanks for sharing that site Martin, I cant say it has opened my eyes as I had sensed the 'evil ones' undercurrent for a long time, but its a good thing to be able to put a name on their 'common purpose' brainwashing schemes at last.
It's a great comfort to know that people like Brian Gerrish have the antis copped on as well, as they are getting truly frightening.
If I had seen that video a few years ago I would have dismissed it as just another conspiracy theory.
But now, having experienced my forced lifestyle change since the smoking ban and the knock on effect of that through further bans that have further encroached on my life, making it harder and harder to enjoy even a modicom of the freedoms I once took for granted, realise that something is dreadfully wrong and these elites that have infiltrated the very fibre of our democracy need to be stopped in their tracks.
Before we all start growing horns and braying MOO for them!

February 18, 2010 at 12:16 | Unregistered Commenterann

Jenny -

Yep - I know about the Frankfurt School, thanks. And people would do well to explore the philosophical influence of certain 'German' ideas upon the American Leadership - both in the late 19th Century, as well as after 1945.

Still 'Secret History' to most (as it was to me until a few years ago).

But I try to steer clear of all the 'isms' these days (there are SO many).

Not sure about the (if any) link between DC and CP. Wouldn't surprise me if there were SOME connection, though. Little DOES surprise me these days !

Ann -

You're most welcome. Spread the word, at any rate (and check Brian out on Youtube, if you have the time: quite a good Alex Jones piece, among others.)

And don't grow horns, please: WOOL is far more marketable !

I know you'll both understand me (and possibly sympathise) when I say that I don't yet see David Cameron's imminent enthronement as The Second Coming.

Certain others won't, though.

At all events: by their FRUITS shall ye know them...................

February 18, 2010 at 14:39 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Did anyone hear about the head teacher in a school in Putney who illegally fined a pupil's parents for their daughter smoking on school premises?

It's on Big Brother Watch and you can comment on it here

February 20, 2010 at 17:51 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

The link I gave (above) doesn't seem to be working. You can find the site here
and scroll down the page to the article.

February 20, 2010 at 18:30 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Peter -

Thanks for the story - and the website: another to add to the Dragon-Slayer's List.

Any reaction from the likes of us is bound to be superfluous, of course.

The REALLY depressing thing ?

That ANY parent should have been STUPID enough -and CRAVEN enough - to pay such a 'fine' in the first place.

Surely they can't be THAT gullible ?

The armed might of Napoleon, the Kaiser, and Adolph Hitler - no problem.


Next Daft Headline:


MUST be the Fluoride, after all: it IS making people docile.

Gimme strength......................

February 20, 2010 at 22:05 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

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