Posted on March 13, 2013

Smoking in the workplaceToday is National No Smoking Day – the perfect day to join 1000s of other people in kicking this dirty and unhealthy habit.

Giving up smoking is not just about your health and that of others – if you smoke 20 cigarettes a day of even the absolutely cheapest brand will costs you at least £2,500 a year. With inflation and compound interest this will end up costing you in the region of £30,000 over 10 years – just think what £30,000 could buy you – a C-Class Mercedes Coupe (£30,820) or a good second hand 360 Ferrari Modena two door F1 M Coupe (according to Auto trader). Not to mention something boring and sensible like a chunky deposit on a house! Why not use the WeQuit calculator below to work out how much you could save by giving up today:

So give up smoking today, put the money you won’t be spending into a savings account (ideally an ISA so it is tax free) – forget all about it for 10 years and then treat yourself to something amazing.

The 2007 smoking ban has had a major impact on how many people now smoke – two years before the ban the % of the population in the UK that smoked was 29%, whereas by 2012 the figure was around 20% (1). The ban was initially opposed by pro smoking groups as well as owners of pubs, bars and restaurants but has subsequently won support from around 80% of the population – even David Cameron has admitted he was initially very sceptical about the ban but had now been won over and was even considering support for an extension of the ban to cover cars. Cars are not such a straightforward case as they are a private space and enforcement of a ban by the Police would be very difficult. However groups like the British Lung Foundation have been strong supporters of at least a ban on smoking in cars where children are present. Cars are such small, enclosed spaces that research has shown that just one cigarette smoked in a moving car with the window half open exposes a child to around two thirds as much second-hand smoke as in an average smoke-filled pub. Worse still, these levels increase to more than 11 times that of a smoke-filled pub when the car is stationary with the windows closed! See The British Lung Foundation website for details of the smoking in cars campaign.

Many of the claims made in 2007 that the smoking ban would damage businesses haven’t proved to be the case. Although many pubs have closed in the subsequent years this is much more down to the overall state of the economy and the competition from supermarkets with cheap alcohol promotions. Some businesses, especially gastro pubs, have thrived thanks to a refreshing smoke-free atmosphere encouraging more families to eat out. On a selfish level, it has also had a positive impact on our own business generating sales in the last 5 years for products like cigarette bins and smoking shelters as there are still plenty of businesses that need to cater to staff who still want to smoke.

Something like two out of three people who smoke want to give up and we are told that one in ten smokers are ‘desperate’ to give up. Although only about one fifth of the UK population still smoke, it is important to keep the National No Smoking Day so as to keep the pressure on people to quit as well as making it less attractive for young people to start smoking in the first place.

Richard Bloomfield works for the Workplace Depot and is the former website editor at the British Lung Foundation

1. ASH – http://ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_106.pdf