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« Seven days to Bangalore | Main | Smoking at work? Give me a break! »

Five Live (late) last night

Click HERE to hear the item about smoking breaks with Tony Livesey on Five Live last night. It starts around 2:12:00 (12.45am) and lasts for eight minutes. Also features Andy Hull, chairman of SmokeFree Liverpool.

On BBC Radio Lincolnshire (Peter Levy Show) I found myself up against a rather creepy sounding Martin Dockrell of ASH. Click HERE. The 10-minute item starts about 15 minutes in and towards the end includes a minor exchange of insults about funding (or, in the case of ASH, public funding).

Reader Comments (12)

I'd like to have heard Andy's evidence of smokers taking huge amounts of time off sick.

September 29, 2010 at 9:31 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

I wondered how long it would take before ASH would start to plant the suggestion that smokers are a liability as employees because customers will be offended by their smell. I have ceased to be astonished that my opinion of ASH can sink lower.

September 29, 2010 at 10:00 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Staggering hypocrisy from Dockrell, complaining about smokers wasting taxpayers' money!

September 29, 2010 at 12:09 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

Heard on the TL show last night. Good tactic mentioning Clarkson and Cowell twice. Smoking is becoming more normallised every day. I wouldn't in the past have approved of pointing out rich and successful people who smoke, but you've got to fight fire with fire.
Read an interview with Carlo Ancelotti at the weekend. Interviewer mentioned the half smoked cigarette in his office ash tray. So, no problem with the smoking ban if you are Wayne Rooney in the (completely no smoking) Lowry hotel; or a head of state at the G20; or a Premiership manager in an office in Cobham, Surrey. What's the common thread? Clue: ker-ching, ker-ching.

September 29, 2010 at 12:22 | Unregistered Commenterjon

Nice prominent advert for NRT from Dockrell too. His paymasters will be pleased.

September 29, 2010 at 12:22 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

The higher they climb, the lower they steep.

What a paradoxical bunch the Ash-ites are !

September 29, 2010 at 13:08 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Just a couple of points about this clocking off. As several have pointed out, clocking off should then be obligatory for all absences from the work station. Simon takes the more old fashioned and difficult to argue view that smokers could be trusted to not take the Mick and that everyone ends up wasting around the same amount of time in their different ways.
Giving the Councils the benefit of the doubt: their non smoking workers resent the current situation. This is true. My sister manages an accountancty firm and it annoys her. A miserable woman on my station platform includes it in her general catalogue of misery. It is common.
So, rather than use it as an excuse to ban, or make very difficult, smoking at work, the Council consults its workforce. Understandably, 70% want clocking off (most of the non smokers) but, and I believe this, so do some of the smokers. If I, a smoker, were in that situation, I might choose clocking off. I could then enjoy my breaks more, office relations would be better and I would have the moral high ground. The complainers would feel my eyes boring into the backs of their heads and imagine the click of a stopwatch started everytime they went to the bathroom. From the comments I have read, many workers don't appear to have the legal breaks in their day. But, with two 15 minute breaks outside of lunch, afew extra cig breaks would add only an hour a week.
However, the most important point is that the whole issue of breaks is out in the open. Instead of simmering resentment and employers turning a blind eye, the smokers can now negotiate a better position. They can possibly reduce their lunch break by ten or fifteen minutes to gain an extra break and, instead of two fifteen minute breaks, take three ten minute breaks. There will be no arguments - the clock doesn't lie.
In one way, everyone will be happier. What the complainers haven't realised and maybe the Councils have, is that the cost of the injustice to them is that they too will have to work harder and spend less time chatting, going to the bathroom, arranging child-care etc. The Council now has a self-policing office.

September 29, 2010 at 14:34 | Unregistered Commenterjon

correction to the above "the cost to them of remedying the injustice".

September 29, 2010 at 14:36 | Unregistered Commenterjon

Where does over 200 hours lost come from? That's almost one hour a day - say 5 smoking breaks. I'm quite a heavy smoker but with lunch and two other 15 minute breaks, I don't think I'd need another 5 breaks.

September 29, 2010 at 15:56 | Unregistered Commenterjon

I wonder if the anti-tea lobby abolished tea rooms in the work place, wether the tax payer would really want to pay civil servants to drink tea outside. Many employers are happy to have tea rooms for their employees, it makes their business more competative in the labour market.

September 29, 2010 at 22:01 | Unregistered CommenterFredrik Eich

So this Council have voted for the clocking off thing. It now has to be administered. Someone has to check that people are clocking off for a smoke break. How is this to be organised? What punishments are to be put in place for not clocking off? Is a new non-job to be created, "Clocking off supervisor"? Who is going to be watching the non-smokers going to the loo for 10 minutes at a time?

The practicalities are incalculable. What will happen is that, within weeks, it will be found to be impracticable - who is going to be paid to check the long list of clock off, clock on, clock off , clock on, clock off, clock on? Suppose that smokers start to clock off for 2 minutes and then clock on again, and repeat this again and again and again, who will keep tabs? And then there are all the questions that staff will be asking of each other - where are you going? how long will you be? did you clock off?

I'll give it a month before it collapses into an incomprehensible heap - and is QUIETLY discarded.

What should happen, is that this 'experiment' should be monitored, and when it collapses in a heap, the councillors who voted for it should be named, shamed and ridiculed.

Will that happen? It should and could be done if Forest or whoever kept tabs on its progress. It ought not to be difficult.

And where are the Unions in all this? We know that Union officials are anti-smoking generally, but do they want their members back-stabbing each other? What is their opinion? Why have they not been asked what their opinion is?

Actually, the fact of the matter is that the more of these nonsensical events that occur, the better. The more that they occur, the more stupid the smoking ban will be seen to be. But it is of the greatest importance that the originators of the events should be held to account. If we recall, in the 1970s, scientists were saying that we were due for an ice age. Why are climatologists not naming, shaming and ridiculing the scientists who were saying these things 40 years ago?

The political ability to 'get away with' statements and actions needs to be reversed. It was ok when we had a homogeneous nation and the erroneous decisions did not divide the nation, but that is no longer true. The combination of 'dictatorship of the majority' and 'nudging laws and taxes' requires greater vigilance.

So what has recently happened with heart attacks in Scotland? Have recent events borne out the stated reduction of heart attacks of 17% (or whatever) since the smoking ban? How can one find out?

If I was Simon, and I was asked my opinion about some survey, the first thing that I would ask would be, "How can I access the raw data?" If I cannot, then I have no opinion. There are an awful lot of people who can analyse data. When the data is available, we can analyse it and come to an opinion about it.

The science is the thing. Do not opine without access to the data.

September 30, 2010 at 1:53 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Just one more comment on clocking off. Although Martin Dockrell of ASH UK says he is in favour - well what else could he say, I don't think the anti tobacco industry will like this. They don't when a state of equilibrium has been reached - making any future advance in anti smoking laws very difficult. It has now and it it is not what they want, which is smoking banned during working hours and smokers having to buy the products of their friends in the drug industry. To a certain extent, smoking at work has now been made matter of fact so long as the smokers pay. Dockrell tried to introduce the idea that people shouldn't smell of tobacco when they talk to the public. He was actually not happy with clocking off.

September 30, 2010 at 10:53 | Unregistered Commenterjon

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