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Stockholm smokers hit with ban

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 27 Aug 2009, 08:23

Published: 27 Aug 2009 08:23 GMT+02:00

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The ban against having a drag on work time will apply to all 45,000 employees of the city of Stockholm, according to Sveriges Television.

The formal decision has not yet been taken but is expected to gain a majority when a vote is held in the autumn, with the governing centre-right coalition in favour of the smoking ban.

Smokers will from next May only be able to enjoy a cigarette on their unpaid lunch hour.

Gothenburg county council is also reported to be mulling a similar ban.

A new report published this week by the Swedish Public Health Institute (Statens Folkhälsoinstitut) indicated that smokers are costing Swedish municipalities 2.6 billion kronor ($367 million) per annum in the form of breaks and sickness absences.

Work time lost to smoke breaks totalled 31,300 kronor per smoker per annum, the institute calculated.

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Furthermore smokers typically claim an additional eight sick days in comparison with a non-smoker and this costs an additional 13,700 kronor per smoker per annum.

The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL) 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.

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Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:20 August 27, 2009 by seekingtruth
Wow, that was quick!

So in less than a year you either have to overcome your addiction or be forced to choose between your job and the cigarettes. I hope most people would be sensible enough to trash the killer sticks.
09:52 August 27, 2009 by Lisaann
This decision benefits all, the Employers, the Employees and Society as a whole. Good luck to those who are trying to kick the habit, and a warning to those kids begging adults to buy them cigarettes. Now they need to prosecute those Adults who aid minors in securing cigarettes and alcohol.

Kudos to The Government and SKL.
10:02 August 27, 2009 by Plowbridge
Astonishing mealy mouthed discrimination here. I suppose some middle aged, dithering old binnies that have provided very little productively in their working lives came up with this decision. How typically Swedish to set rules for the proliteriat to obey whilst ignoring the basics of business like customer service standards and innovation.

Why does every report from many of the vastly over subsidised institutes here warrant so much respect when it is clear that many are out of touch with the modern society and are in fact the guiltiest parties when it comes to swallowing tax-payers money.

By the way any news on how much privately surfing the net in work 'costs' the taxpayer? If my memory serves me correct from a UK report it is the biggest waste of business hours by far. Of course downloading illegal stuff and stealing off owners of music etc..here is considered acceptable so that's ok then.

Priorities, priorities, priorities.
10:42 August 27, 2009 by Luckystrike
Very misleading title. No decision has yet been made. It's not "Stockholm" smokers, but government agencies only.

Plus, you shouldn't be smoking during paid working hours anyway, other than your lunch hours (PS. What about people who get paid monthly and not hourly ? how will that work ), thought that was common sense.

Totally agree with you Plowbridge. I think we can add the time taken out for Fika breaks and mass extended summer vacation, how much money do companies loose there??

Oh well
12:15 August 27, 2009 by DamnImmigrant

Think the police officer going through tobacco withdrawal, think about the judge hearing your case, the arbitrator, the teacher, the tax collector, the ...

I have seen people going through withdrawal - SCARY!

(Is now the time to point out not to take the above too seriously? ;-)

I think it is good they are stopping these free smoking breaks.

I believe that the 2 PAID breaks during the work day (ficka?), should also be able to be used by smokers to get their DRUG FIX! How can people be stopped from doing anything on their "BREAKS"?
18:28 August 27, 2009 by Greg in Canada
About time. You Swedes are a few years behind us in doing this. However there is usually also a fifteen minute or so break in the morning/afternoon. Smokers are then seen running out of the building and off the property to grab a puff. I don't see why anybody shouldn't be allowed to smoke on these breaks.
18:32 August 27, 2009 by Hedley
Well I think, that smoking must be highly regulated. In my view, it is as dangerous as alcohol is.

Just to be fair with tax payers, high taxes must be put to cigarettes in order to destroy smoker's pocket rather that rest of non smokers tax payers, I consider it is fair!
23:29 August 27, 2009 by Geno44
It's time for these government institutions to get some gonads. If smoking is such a hazard to the public health, then why is it legal to do? Ban the consumption, selling, manufacture and importing of tobacco. Of course the loss of tax revenue will be made up by the saving on the public health costs.

If smoking is legal, then any citizen should be allowed to smoke in public areas, especially in the ones maintained by the taxes collected from the public.

44,000 sek? How did they arrive at that number. Who held the stop watch and counted the sick days? The trouble is that statistics are not raw data. Statistics is a method for analysing large data sets, raw or otherwise. There are plenty of ways of getting the statistics to say what you want. To start with, you could just make up the data. If you don't want to go for quite such blantant fraud, cherry-picking the data (or the subjects giving the data) and leading questions are always good. Once you have the data, there are many, many different ways of looking at it, so there's bound to be one that will lead to the answer you want.
00:10 August 28, 2009 by justanotherexpat
Good. Bloody smokers nipping out for a quick drag on a cancer stick on a "break"....

The morning/afternoon break was a hard-fought-for right, to ensure that staff can take a breather (no pun intended). You are supposed to take a rest for that period, ironically for the sake of your health!

Ironically, at my former workplace, I had a stand-up row with my manager because checking my email in a break was a heinous crime ro her, yet a relaxing respite from the tedium of work, whereas another colleague spent all his breaks (and more time still) slowly killing himself with nicotine/alcohol.......using the argument that it made him calm down........insane.......

Someone spoke about priorities? Sounds like employers about to get them right. For a change.
06:44 August 28, 2009 by KarlK
That´s why god invented snus:-D
03:16 August 29, 2009 by tousgaard
What ever happened to the individual choice? Yes smokers know what they do is bad for their health, but it is THEIR choice to smoke or not to smoke, not peer pressure, or in this case 'government pressure'. This is taking away civil liberties from the common person, in favor of those that are not the majority. Too often are the minorities in any situation or environment free from the majority's pressures and opinions.

It is your own life, live it as you see fit, an no-one else should be there to tell you otherwise unless you are stopping others from doing the same!
15:02 August 30, 2009 by Aussie_Downunder
Hey who said smoking was bad? Okay wait a second hear me out before you think I'm just some Australian crackpot.

Let me explain with an example... How about obese poeple, wouldn't they logically be as much of a burden on society/workplace as smokers?? Those clogged arteries sure do lead to problems later on. So what I ask is if the swedish government plans to be so harsh on smokers, why not obese people aswell?

But aha! You say, smokers don't only harm themselves, but those around them. You are very right indeed.. But alas, new studies from Harvard and uni of californina have found that having obese friends around you actually can influence your lifestyle aswell. Hence making you adopt some of the same lifestyle patterns as them.

Now what I'm getting to is that if the governments gonna tell you not to do one thing then turn a blind a eye to other issues then why even bother? An plus they are still gonna smoke twice as hard when they get home from work, so its not like the government is 'saving' these peoples lives.
23:12 August 31, 2009 by Coalbanks
Hej! How about Aussies? No one can understand what they are saying...

What about other impaired persons? How about....well, everyone not exactly like me?
23:55 August 31, 2009 by anduthinh
06:21 September 1, 2009 by lopers
Is not about smoking....look around...I am not swedish,but you ,people ,see only smoking and dring a big problem?what about your freedom?....where is your tax money?this articole make me sick...when they cut our oxigen,and when they will close our sunday walking park???
09:58 September 2, 2009 by Xxsarahxx
Oh my god, leave the poor bastards alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel literally sick in my stomach for these smokers. It is so cruel.

Either criminalize smoking or leave them in peace.

I love how smoking is costing the government billions. I have seen so many lazy swedes on the unemployment who don't smoke. Or unhealthy people taking time of sick for stress reasons or otherwise.

My grandmother died of smoking related illnesses, she spent 4 days in hospital, total. Where did the rest of her tax money go??

I hope the smokers start a massive revolution and riots everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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