7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Profits going up in smoke say bosses

SMOKE-FREE workplaces in Bahrain could actually benefit the country's economy, according to a new report. The study revealed that nearly half of employers believe that smoking has a negative financial impact on their company.

Bosses who took part in the survey, commissioned by Pfizer Middle East and conducted by Harris Interactive, said smokers were actually less productive than their non-smoking counterparts.

"Even more surprisingly, almost a third of smokers (31 per cent) agree that they are less productive in the workplace owing to their smoking habits," said Pfizer Middle East policy and external affairs director Dr Ahmed El Hakim.

"The survey shows that the average smoker smokes between eight and 10 cigarettes per day, which takes an average of half an hour.

"When calculated on a calendar year, this equates to approximately 17 working days - just over three weeks - lost per year, per smoker."

The survey was described as one of the largest global surveys conducted to investigate the attitudes of employers and employees towards smoking.

A total of 3,515 adult employee smokers and 1,403 employers from 14 countries were interviewed over an 11-week period.

Dr El Hakim said that despite the importance of reducing smoking, on average, less than 40pc of employers believed they had a responsibility to help their employees quit smoking.

"Of the employers surveyed, who do have a policy to counteract smoking, most do not extend their support beyond enforcement of a workplace ban," he added.

Of the employees surveyed, 86pc said workplace ban on smoking alone was not effective in helping them quit.

"Instead, many employees would like help from their employers in the form of counselling for quitting (48pc) and subsidies for smoking cessation products (26pc) to help them kick the habit."

He said the need for additional support was highlighted by the fact that only 5pc of smokers who tried to quit using willpower succeeded.

"Almost all employers questioned in the survey believe that smoking is not acceptable in the workplace (93pc), an attitude reflected even by the 71pc of employees surveyed who smoke," added Dr El Hakim.

"Only a quarter of smokers say they are encouraged to quit by workplace policies, as the most common effect of a workplace ban (62pc) is simply that employees find somewhere else to smoke."

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