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Smokers cost employers thousands each year according to British Heart Foundation research endorsed by Ashford-based training consultancy HR+ Limited

24 July 2014
by Chris Price

Kent employers can boost productivity by encouraging workers to quit smoking, according to new research.

Training consultancy HR+ Limited, based in Ashford, has endorsed research revealing that smokers cost British firms more than £8bn in lost productivity every year.

Regular smoking breaks and extra sick leave taken by smokers lose employers £1,522 in unproductive wages each year, according to findings published by the British Heart Foundation.

Smoker with cigarette

Smoker with cigarette

On average, smokers cost their employer 136 hours of lost productive time annually.

“Smokers take an average of four smoking breaks a day, each of about 10 minutes,” said Dr Hugh Billot, managing director of HR+, which is part of the HR GO recruitment business, also based in Ashford.

“The average smoker is off work for an extra day of sick leave a year compared to their non-smoking colleagues.”

Dr Billot is calling on employers to promote campaigns such as no smoking day and to give employees information about local services helping people quit.

He added: “Wake up employers. If you want more productivity, help your smokers to quit.”

HR+ is part of HR GO plc, founded in Dartford in 1957, and employs 42 people at its headquarters in Church Road, Ashford, with annual turnover approaching £100m across its 30 branches.

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