Crunching numbers on smoking

July 20, 2013

I recently saw the news that UPMC is banning smoking by its employees, students, doctors and volunteers during the workday starting next July. I applaud their efforts. I, too, work with smokers, and seeing them take break after break throughout the day got me wondering exactly how much time they spend puffing away.

Well, just to put it in perspective, let’s crunch some numbers: Let’s say, on average, someone takes four, five-minute smoke breaks for a total of twenty minutes each day. Throughout the typical 40-hour workweek, they would spend 100 minutes smoking cigarettes. Now, let’s multiply that by fifty weeks, since most people get two full weeks of vacation. That equals 5,000 minutes a year of smoking cigarettes. Divide 5,000 by 60 (60 minutes in one hour), and you have 83.3 hours. So, if that employee works the typical 40-hour workweek, they get paid to smoke cigarettes for over two full weeks of work.

Now, if you’re an employer, how does that make you feel? Not only are these employees getting two full weeks of paid vacation, but they’re also getting two full (work) weeks of smoking cigarettes and you’re paying for it. Perhaps non-smokers should get four weeks of vacation.

Bill Ursic


Crunching numbers on smoking


Submit a letter to the editor