Bottom Line Benefits of Allowing Electronic Cigarettes in the Workplace

No Smoking Workplace Laws

No Smoking

Most smokers are banned from lighting up traditional cigarettes at work.  Employees might not mind — and may even enjoy — going outside on warm, sunny days to smoke.  But no one enjoys shivering outside in sub-freezing temperatures.   Want to convince the boss to let you use smoke-free electronic cigarettes in the office year-round?  Tell him how much money he will save.

Nearly everyone wastes time at work.  A 2012 survey by  shows that some employees admitted to wasting more than 10 hours a week on personal matters, primarily shopping online and visiting their social media sites.

Based on an average U.S. salary of $42,000, 10 hours of lost productivity costs an employer about $10,500 per year per employee.  A smoker who leaves the building to smoke a cigarette once an hour will waste another hour and 40 minutes a day — at a cost to employers of nearly $10,000 per smoker.

If you smoke and don't want to spend this winter huddled in a doorway, getting salt stains on your shoes and getting splashed by slush every time a car passes by, you have several choices:

1.  Quit smoking.

2.  Start using electronic cigarettes at your desk and hope no one complains.

3.  Propose to your employer that electronic cigarettes be officially allowed in the workplace.

Quit if You Can

Quitting is the best, but hardest option.  Some 90 percent of quit attempts fail, according to Forever Free, a publication supported by grants from the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute.

If you've tried to quit because of the risks of tobacco smoke to your health and the health of others, you know that the withdrawal symptoms can be more formidable than your resolve.

Electronic Cigarette Options

Electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine to your system in a vaporized mist.  Electronic cigarettes do not emit smoke and do not contain tobacco, so they are not covered by most anti-smoking regulation. See a detailed image of the process here.

So, if you start vaping at your desk, you may face criticism but not discipline — until or unless your company revises its non-smoking policies to include electronic cigarettes.

This is why you may want to take a proactive stance and enlighten your employers about the cost savings of keeping smokers at their desks.

Do the Math

Add up the number of smokers in your workplace.

Multiply that number by 100 (the number of minutes a smoker spends away from his desk every day if he takes 10, 10-minute smoking breaks.)

Divide the number by 60 to give you a total of hours.

Multiply that number by 250. (number of days an employee works per year based on a 5-day work week and 2-week vacation.)

Multiply this number by the average salary of the smokers in your workplace.  If you don't know the average, use the national average wage of $23.63 of  per hour or an estimate based on averages for your industry.

Find the total and present this to your boss as the amount of annual savings the company could realize if they disallowed smokers from leaving the building to smoke and allowed the use of electronic cigarettes indoors.

Here's a sample calculation, based on 10 smokers:

10 x 100 = 1,000 minutes lost daily to smokers.

1,000/60 = 16.66 hours lost daily.

16.66 x 250 = 4,165 hours lost annually

4,165 x $23.63 = $98, 418.95 annual loss in productivity


Employers say no to a lot of things.  But they tend to be amenable to money-saving propositions.  And an annual savings of $100,000 is nothing to blow smoke at.

With almost two-thirds of all respondents reporting they waste time at work on the computer each day, the next obvious question is how much time?

Thirty-nine percent of the people who took our survey said they spend a mere 1 hour a week or less on non-work related items. That’s followed by 29 percent who spend up to 2 hours a week wasting time on the computer at work, and 21 percent who waste up to 5 hours a week. Only 3 percent of respondents spend  10 hours or more on personal tasks while at work in a given week.