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

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. Picture: Getty Images
Smoker with cigarette. Picture: Getty Images

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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