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'Smokers cost Swedish councils billions': report

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 25 Aug 2009, 11:31

Published: 25 Aug 2009 11:31 GMT+02:00

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The amount is equivalent to 6,000 full time positions.

"We know that three out of four smokers want to quit and most municipalities that introduce bans during working hours also offer help. In that way the workplace supports those wanting to stop. We can now see that a smoke-free work environment provides financial benefits to councils," Cecilia Birgersson at the institute said in a press release on Tuesday.

A smoke-free workplace means in practice that smoking is banned during paid working hours, including breaks. Lunch hour is not considered to be part of regular working hours.

The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL), along with union groups, supports the introduction of smoking bans. A survey conducted by SKL earlier in 2009 showed that 64 of Sweden's 290 local municipalities had decided to introduce work time smoking bans.

The institute has calculated the cost of smoking in terms of "smoking hours" at an average 282 kronor, based on a national average hourly wage.

Story continues below…

The total cost is a multiple of the time taken to smoke a cigarette by the number of cigarettes per day (for the normal smoker) and the time to go to and from a designated smoking area - a total of 30 minutes per day per smoker. The cost per smoker is thus 31,300 kronor per annum.

Smokers typically claim an additional eight sick days in comparison with a non-smoker and this costs an additional 13,700 kronor per annum per smoker, bringing the total cost per smoker to 45,000 kronor, according to the institute's calculations.

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Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:50 August 25, 2009 by seekingtruth
Swedish effectivization at its best. If these 6 000 full-time positions can really be reclaimed through helping these drug addicts it's a win-win situation for all involved. Public mental and physical health will improve, less tax money out, more in, plus a great contribution to society via new jobs.

Now, this will draw a lot of fire from many people, but I hope the next step for the Swedish Public Health Institute will be to research the damaging effects of Alcohol on the nation-wide population and society in general. It's truly a taboo subject in Sweden to discuss alchol in negative terms, especially mentioning a ban. There's no reason to go that far, but some healthy statistics on the subject wouldn't hurt to see.
12:35 August 25, 2009 by glamelixir
I am sick and tired of people that smoke.

I am allergic to Tabacco, can barely breath when people smoke close to me. Have develop a strong problem specially when I go to bed.

Nobody cares about it. After telling them about my allergy people just tell me ok, but then let me know if it bothers you... while they hold their cigarette.

Still they have rights I don't have!

OMG. I am getting tired of this country.
13:00 August 25, 2009 by Lisaann
I too am severely allergic to smoke. How fair is it when we see reckless parents smoking, puffing and blowing smoke right down the throats of their very own infants, and children, without a care in the world. How fair is it, to patrons who dine out, particularly those who want to catch the fresh air, who sit outdoors, only to be humiliated and disgust at the near 95 percent of people around them who are smoking profusely, and blowing their smoke right in your face. God knows its not right, its similar to the people who spit right on the walkways, omg, soooo many disgusting habits in this town, especially the latter, which I wont be surprised if they find out that people are sick, with some virus or flu, because of the germs they carry home on their shoes, from walking in other peoples guk, spit and mucous, its makes you want to baff! These are just facts, and yet folks want to take offense when you talk about. Its all about upbringing, you either have manners and decorum, or you have none, which seems to the norm for the average Swede. It seems that if one was given a little bit of etiquette training, one might have more respect for others around them.
13:17 August 25, 2009 by eZee.se
I'm a non smoker myself, but best of luck trying to get the addicts to quit in the name of "lost monies to the state".
13:47 August 25, 2009 by Luckystrike
Not unexpected that all the smoker haters come out of nowhere to cry (No,im not a smoker). The figures stated here have been pulled out of someones arsehole, if you dont get that then try think logically about it.

Then....Alchohol, kills way, way, way, many more people than smoking does and there are actual facts from hospital/police/goverment records that back this up. What is the total cost spent on people staying home from work caused by hang-overs...way, way, way, more than people who smoke. What is the cost of medical care, policing the drunk, rehab programs and i can go on.....way, way, way, more than smoking will EVER cost.

Come on Cecilia Birgersson, get your prioritise straighted out. One good point in the whole shamble, Smoking during work hours (excluding lunch hour) is wrong and should be stopped.
15:57 August 25, 2009 by Greg in Canada
There are all kinds of studies that have demonstrated that moderate drinkers are healthier than abstainers. Two glasses of red wine per day will do wonders for your heart and arteries. Of course heavy drinking and alcoholism is a serious health problem when it reaches that point.

As for smoking - stupid. What else can you say.
16:00 August 25, 2009 by peropaco
I am allergic to idiots and weekend boozing chicks with their dumb azs friends.
19:15 August 25, 2009 by jack sprat
With alcohol,you have a choice,..to risk your health or not.

With smoke you often have NO choice and suffer from OPs lack of consideration.

If ppl.had more interest in their jobs and earning a crust, they wouldnt be so obsessed with smoking away so much time and money.
20:36 August 25, 2009 by BravoTango
Banning smoking is not a bad thing. After all, it is not a European tradition, but rather a habit brought back from Aboriginal North America to Europe.

Now drinking on the other hand is a world wide tradition. Every culture since the Stone Age has brewed, distilled and fermented alcohol in some form or another. Much tougher to get rid of. Remember the 18th Amendment of the US Constitution passed in 1919 which attempted to legislate/eliminate alcohol consumption. It was a dismal failure; all it did was make Joseph Kennedy (the father of the late President John F. Kennedy) rich, Al Capone infamous and rich, and criminals out of millions of ordinary Americans who just wanted to enjoy a cold beer on a hot summer afternoon.

You can't stop drinking. Never been successful anywhere.
04:25 August 26, 2009 by kenny8076
god mind your own business,ya smoking around people or blowing it in there face isnt right but what i do is my business, arent there enough hobbies and things to do then worry about what someone is doing to themselves?i was eating in a resteraunt the other night in the smoking section, and a guy comes and sits right behind me with his son, becauae he didnt want to wait 15 minutes to sit non-smoking, i didnt know he was behind me untill i lit up and he turned around and asked me if i could quite smoking? uuummmm no!!!! dont make me change my evening because your an idiot and brought YOUR son in this area!!!!mind your own business, people have no idea what kind of taxes the ciggerette industry provides for states and countries,but get rid of, because you were nosy and worry about other peoples personal decisions those taxes to fund all the stupid things we have are gonna have to come from somewhere else now, like your income!!!
04:44 August 26, 2009 by Marley420
"Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world. In the UK, it is the second most-frequently occurring cancer, accounting for one in seven new cases.

Nine in ten of these can be squarely blamed on the pernicious effects of tobacco smoking - and unfortunately the majority of cases cannot be cured." BBC
08:37 August 26, 2009 by justanotherexpat
I had a bit of a confrontation once at a party with a smoker (I'm an ex-smoker - there's nothing more pious than an ex-smoker, except possibly a Pentecostal ex-smoker but I digress..)

He had lit up a ciggie practically in my face, so I protested. He said he couldn't see the harm and I should "get over" myself, "it's a party!"

So I politely pointed out that, since the by-product of his habit (i.e. smoke exhalation and direct smoke from the burning cancer stick in his fingers) was affecting me without bothering his conscience, then I had the right to equal redress. This stumped him (maybe tobacco & nicotine kills brain cells as well as lung ones).

"Well, my habit is drinking, the natural by-product of which is urine. Therefore if you're allowed to exhale smoke on me, I should be allowed to p*ss on you!"

Smoking is stupid - period. Just as (excessive) drinking is stupid. I loved it when the smoking ban took effect in pubs etc............I think it was the cartoonist Matt in the Daily Torygraph who expressed it best - picture a guy coming home late and the wife looks annoyed - "I can tell you've been to the pub!" she accuses. "I can't smell the smoke!"
08:46 August 26, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
Good point Marley420..

With the increasing over population of the planet, smoking should be promoted and encouraged. Every little bit helps.
10:36 August 26, 2009 by rafafloripa
Well, imagine how much money you could save if 'fika' was banned...
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