How Smoking in the Workplace Can Hurt Your Career and Health
The Incentives to Quit
Almost everybody knows about the ill-effects of smoking, yet a lot of people still find it hard to quit. There is also strong evidence to suggest that serious lung illnesses are linked to passive smoking. Research has found that smokers tend to be less successful in their careers. Smoking can leave a negative impact on your career and about half of all smokers die from smoking related illnesses. You would think that these two facts alone would be enough to convince smokers to quit.
How Smoking Can Hurt Your Career
Not so long ago, smoking in the workplace was accepted, likened to drinking cups and cups of coffee, but not anymore. There is a growing concern about the negative impact of secondhand smoke and the comfort of all employees. Business owners, in accordance with law in most countries, must prohibit employees from smoking in the workplace, especially within an enclosed space. Most countries now require offices to be smoke-free.
China’s Smoking Culture
It is reported that about one million people in China die each year due to the heavy use of tobacco. Smoking is a deeply rooted tradition in China which, despite health reforms and bans, is still widely practiced. According to the WHO (The World Health Organization) in cooperation with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, women, between the ages 15-49, are suffering severely from secondhand smoke in their various places of work. Among a number of developing countries where this survey was conducted, China topped the list along with India and Brazil. Apart from the fact that more men smoke than women and to suffer from smoke related health problems when you don’t smoke is very unfair, 15-49 is the child bearing age bracket. Passive smoking is believed to drastically affect the development of the unborn child and pregnant women suffering the ill-effects of passive smoking are more likely to experience pregnancy complications, fetal growth restrictions, still birth and infant death.
The Tobacco Industry
A Chinese official has commented that smoking is like drinking; if you don’t do it, you don’t fit in. In Communist China conformity has been an overwhelming pressure in the shaping of its people. Government efforts to cut down on tobacco smoking is hindered by the fact that China is the world’s largest consumer, manufacturer, and grower of tobacco. While there is a powerful lobby within the Chinese government to encourage the Chinese population to smoke, it is a complex issue. There are laws to control smoking, but as to whether the government is ready to enforce the law, that is another question. They do and they don’t, they are and they aren’t. In Beijing and Shanghai, people are much keener to obey ‘no smoking signs’ than in other areas of China.
The Bad Impact of Smoking on Your Life
According to the American Lung Association, individuals who smoke or are affected by passive smoking are 17 % more likely to develop lung cancer and other illnesses involving the lungs. Being restricted to smoking only in designated areas can affect your job performance. Your non-smoking officemates might get annoyed inhaling the smoke from your cigarette and may also feel that they are burdened with additional work while you are outside smoking. Some employers also believe that smokers are less productive at work and research supports this. Tobacco smoke is very dangerous to your health. There is no way around it. A number of the chemical compounds in cigarettes are regarded as poisons by the WHO; 69 of them are cancer causing elements.
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Kiss a Non-Smoker and Enjoy the Difference
In western countries now, smokers are treated like outcasts. They can only smoke outside, unless they smoke in the comfort of their own home. You see them huddled in doorways in the middle of winter, defiantly puffing away on their cigarettes. Their numbers are dwindling. In most western countries, governments have taken on the role of nannies (and are called nanny states) in this regard. They have increased the price of cigarettes to ridiculous levels in order to discourage people from smoking. It may take a while, but a similar situation will eventually make its way to China as well.