fresh air breaks for non-smokersAre smokers getting away with sneaking in more break time than their non-smokers? Some people think so.

A poll by vaping supplies firm Flavour Boss found nearly 80% of people feel that way. And 58% of those who took the poll think that non-smokers should be entitled to the same breaks as smokers.

Why could that possibly be a bad thing? And how can non-smoking breaks actually benefit your business?

Why non-smoking breaks don’t have equal status yet…

The culture hasn’t quite shifted
Many workplaces have their own designated smoking or outside communal areas, but not every business has this.

For obvious health reasons, it’s not a tempting idea for non-smokers to share the same breathing space as those who smoke – but designated non-smoking areas just aren’t a thing yet.

Establishing a company policy favourable to vapers could bridge the gap. Research published by Public Health England found that they’re  “approximately 95% safer to users than smoking”, and with “no evidence of harm to bystanders”. And if you or other colleagues want to shift from cigarettes to vapers, your company could support colleagues with that.

Productivity might be dented
For anyone who’s counting, four five-minute fresh air breaks a day works out at 20 minutes, which becomes an hour and 40 minutes per week. That snowballs into 86 hours a year, which becomes ten days lost to the mists of cigarettes or vapers. However, that’s purely numbers, which doesn’t account for what people do when they’re back at their desks.

The good things about non-smoking breaks…

Great productivity all round
Sitting at a desk for hours can wreak havoc on your concentration, and make you feel sluggish. Taking regular fresh air breaks recharges those batteries, gives your legs a much-needed stretch, and refocuses the mind on the tasks at hand.

It can connect people
It’s expected that colleagues who smoke step outside every now and then for a cigarette break. It might not be great for your health, but as a social connector it’s almost unrivalled – and that can create resentment among those who cling to their desks rather than enjoying a quick chat with workmates.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Why should non-smokers miss out on the social benefit of a quick walk around the block? They’re not skiving any more than anyone else, so there’s no reason not to enjoy a guilt-free chinwag.

It could be incentivised…

Japanese marketing company Piala have hit on a genius scheme to reward non-smokers – they’re rewarded with extra annual leave!

This is a case where resentment towards smokers was turned into an attractive proposition. Instead of penalising them, their non-smoking counterparts were given a few extra days off a year. As long as you don’t smoke, you qualify – so of course, a few have quit just to make sure they did.

As a masterstroke, the scheme even has its own name: ‘Sumokyu’ (from the word ‘smoke’ and the Japanese word for ‘break’). We’ll see if it catches on.