Employee Benefits

42% of non-smokers say they should get 3-5 more vacation days than smokers

David Carrig
Getty Images

Should non-smokers get extra vacation days to compensate for the time smokers take off during the day for smoke breaks?

Many workers say they should. A whopping 42% of non-smokers feel they should get 3-5 extra vacation days than non-smokers and 28% of smokers agree with that amount, according to a new survey.

To understand how workers feel about the time their co-workers spent smoking, e-cigarette maker Halo surveyed 1,005 American adults.

According to the survey, 25% of non-smokers said 1-2 days is a fair amount. However, 14% said 6 or more days was fair.

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More than 38% of smokers, on the other hand, didn't think that nonsmokers deserve any extra vacation days. Twenty-percent of nonsmokers agreed they did not deserve extra vacation time.

The survey found that more than 81% of smokers said smoke breaks were fair. Only about 25% of non-smokers agreed.

How severe of a work productivity issue is caused by smoking breaks?

The average smoker wastes around 6 days a year on work smoke breaks, according to Joe Mercurio, Halo's project manager for the study.

One company giving extra vacation days a try is Japan's Piala. The marketing company in Tokyo recently added six extra vacation days for its non-smoking employees after a worker complained about smoking breaks hurting productivity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that smoking related illnesses costs more than $156 billion in lost productivity each year in the U.S. That includes $5.6 billion due to secondhand smoke exposure.

Looking at CDC data from 2016, about 15% of U.S. adults 18 or older smoke cigarettes, or an estimated 37.8 million people.

In 1965, 45% of Americans were smokers. In 1997, 25% of Americans smoked.

Cigarette smoking accounts for more than 480,000 deaths a year and is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.

So, what would it take to get smokers to give up the habit at work? According to the survey, smokers said on average that they'd give up the habit at work for 11 extra vacation days each year.