adventures of my mind

Smoking Vacation

March 18th, 2009 by | Word Count: 893 | Reading Time 3:29 9,453 views

Over the years, I’ve facetiously threatened my wife that I was intent on becoming a fully fledged smoker. Of course I don’t really mean it… I’m just venting my frustration about smoking in general and how a personal habit affects the many people around their “everything revolves around their single planet universe.” I understand addictions, habits, and mind control… I even understand when it’s just a want or a self serving need… What I don’t understand is why people choose to smoke even though it is exactly like burning money. You think buying fireworks is bad, what do you think about smoking cigarettes?

Recently some stores have increased the costs of cigarettes due to a governmental increase of the cigarette tax. It actually starts on April 1st but some are already passing along the new taxes to smoking consumers. How much of an increase? Try a 155% increase on for size… It effectively makes a pack of cigarettes cost $1 more and a carton $10 more. The taxes are a way to increase the revenue of the various government entities in an effort to offset the losses in tax revenue received through the gas taxes. No, gas taxes did not lower, the amount of miles being driven has, thus less gas being bought and taxed.

Back to my threat… My primary reason for even saying such a thing revolves around the various “days off” associated with smoking and the ensuing breaks to feed this harmful addiction. Let’s just say a smoker takes an extended break each morning and afternoon… we’ll just throw 15 total extra minutes a day into the equation. 15 extra minutes devoted to smoke breaks that your normal non-smoker doesn’t utilize. Bathroom breaks and all that other stuff are effectively cancelled out in this simple equation. The bottom line is the smoker takes an extra 15 minutes a day off in this example. 15 minutes per day comes out to 75 minutes per week, 5 hours per month, and 60 hours per year… all devoted to smoking… while at work.

Let’s say we all get 2 weeks of vacation (80 hours) each year. We have just almost doubled it by simply smoking each day. And, we get paid to do it. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, it does with all things being equal. But, smoking isn’t exactly an equal thing… we all know how harmful they are and over time, can dramatically affect the standard of life. Smokers are known to become more susceptible to various respiratory illnesses among other sicknesses caused by a damaged immune system. We can actually throw in a multitude of sick days taken by your average smoker per year that immediately decreases the hours worked even more. If we just throw in say 3 extra sick days per year as a direct result of smoking ailments, we are now up to an extra 2 weeks per year off.

You may not think that sounds like much, but multiply those numbers out over a 30 year career. That comes out to 2400 hours less work as compared to a non-smoker… 300 less work days… well over a year of actual work. That’s the smoker’s vacation.

But, at what cost does the smoker actually pay for this vacation? Various studies have tried to put a number to the amount of time you sacrifice of your life per cigarette you smoke. Searching the internet for a few minutes gave me an average of about 10 minutes of lost life per smoke. So, a smoker who smokes on average of 5 cigarettes each day is costing 50 minutes of their life. Just using the 5 day smoking workweek, this comes out to a little over 4 hours of lost life per week. Multiplied over that same 30 year period, we have now lost about 200 hours of our life each year because of smoking, or 6,000 total hours for a grand total of over 250 full 24 hour days of our life.

These are small estimates in my opinion. I believe I am underestimating the amounts of cigarettes smoked and the amount of time associated with doing so. But, given this simplistic example, a smoker has traded almost a year of the end of their life for almost a year and a half of extra vacation time over their 30 year work career.

I’m not quite sure the tradeoff is worth it given that the last remaining years of a smoker usually aren’t the most fabulous and of a healthy lifestyle. The tradeoff is probably closer to a 5 or 10 to 1 ratio. Smoke and yes, you get extra vacation time, but the last 5 to 10 years of your life is going to be very poor. Is the vacation time worth sacrificing your last years of life? Quality of life is important and it will be dramatically lower for a smoker in the waning stages of existence. I’ve seen this first hand. So while I threaten to become a smoker to generate more vacation time for myself, I am rational enough to know that is not the right, or sane, choice. Purposefully sacrificing my health for such nonsense is irrational… not to mention more expensive these days. Receive the vacation time, but you are costing yourself more money and pain in the end hands down.

5 Responses »

  1. Jeanie
    on March 18th, 2009 at 10:13 pm:

    You already know how disgusted I am with smoking, so I won’t bore you with the details. But, I have found myself saying to other nonsmokers that I was going to take a ‘smoke break’ which meant a non-allocated break time to go do something I wanted.

    I know there are other nonsmokers that get irritated with the extra time the smokers get, like some privileged club. Makes no sense.

    on March 19th, 2009 at 7:18 pm:

    Yes, smoking groups are very click’ish whether they intend for it to be that way or not.

    But yes, the non-smoker “smoke break” is sometimes necessary and does even the playing field a bit.

  2. Ann
    on March 18th, 2009 at 11:51 pm:

    You forgot to mention how bad you smell when you come off a smoke break!!! I put as much distance between me and that person as much as possible when they come back. So much for making friends. I think only smokers have smoker friends.

    on March 19th, 2009 at 7:22 pm:

    Very true, some of the cheaper cigarettes smell so horrible! I’m not saying the more expensive ones are ok, but the cheap ones are absolutely disgusting smelling.

    Smokers do have mostly smoker friends because rational non-smokers won’t allow them to smoke in their cars, houses, etc. And, the non-smoker friend doesn’t really like to be in the smoker cars, houses, etc because they don’t want to smell like a cigarette upon leaving. It definitely creates a division amongst those you know.

  3. Em
    on June 6th, 2009 at 2:10 pm:

    Today I walked around the lake and the ground was littered with cigarette butts! I guess there are some not so health conscious walkers. I’ve even watched them smoking and walking. Talk about idiotic! One man passed me on the path and nearly gagged me from the smoky stench wafting off of him. No… wafting implies it was gingerly floating off him. It definitely was NOT wafting. LOL I remember gasping before I realized I should act like I didn’t inhale the smoke from his lungs, but it was too late. The man cackled. I think he enjoyed it. No kidding.

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