Business leaders dismiss quit smoking calls

By Iain O'Neil

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nicotine

Business leaders dismiss quit smoking calls
Calls to give smokers paid time off work to attend quit smoking classes have been dismissed by business leaders.

Calls from the NHS to give smokers paid time off work to attend quit smoking classes have been dismissed by British business leaders.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said workers should be given time off without losing pay to attend stop smoking clinics.

NICE said businesses would then benefit when staff reduced their cigarette breaks and became healthier.

If people have a problem with tobacco dependence, it is up to them to sort that out, but not during working hours ​ David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce.

IT said employers should be doing all they can to help staff give up smoking in the lead up to the start of the ban in England on 1 July.

However, the British Chambers of Commerce said the guidelines were 'out of touch with the reality of the workplace'.

David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, told the Guardian: "The idea that businesses should pick up the tab for an individual's tobacco addiction just shows how far removed from the economic reality of the workplace Nice is. If people have a problem with tobacco dependence, it is up to them to sort that out, but not during working hours."

The calls have also been attacked by smokers group Forest.

Simon Clark, director of the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco, said called the idea "absolutely ridiculous".

He said: "It's wrong to expect employers to accept employees taking time off, and I imagine their non-smoking colleagues will be very unhappy about it.

"It's generally acknowledged these quit smoking courses are not very successful - it's a matter for willpower. And they are likely to be open to abuse - people will take advantage as they have an excuse to take time off work."

Would you give your staff paid time off to help them quit? Answer on our forums.

Related topics: Legislation

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