Today at the Squishy Place, a formal announcement came down that in a few months' time, smoking will no longer be allowed on company property. Not outside, not in your car in the parking lot; N.O.W.H.E.R.E. It hasn't yet been a full year since I quit smoking, so I am very much on the fence in this debate. I understand where the company owners are coming from, and I really don't dispute their right to chose to ban tobacco products from their property. Noone disputes the fact that alcohol is a legal product that has no place in the work environment, and the management feels that tobacco falls into the same category. Despite what every smoker thinks, nicotine actually does impair concentration, and I can tell you without any question that it is a mood altering drug. The company is very freely offering financial support to those smokers who wish to quit. I don't necessarily feel that they are in the wrong to clearly state what they will and will not allow on their property.
However, I remember very clearly what the physical dependence on the nicotine is like. I don't envy the smokers one bit. They are of legal age, and using a completely legal product. I don't think we're going to see much indoor smoking anymore anywhere, but I don't really have a problem with designated smoking areas outside. As long as it doesn't start cutting into the work day, taking a smoke break or two really shouldn't be an issue. Non-smokers take restroom breaks. We all have to make occasional personal calls during business hours. In this case, there is an hour's paid lunch each day that we can use as we see fit. I think that they are going to simply clock out for five minutes at a time and cross the street for their smoke breaks. It would be more accomidating if the company provided a covered area with trash cans, but I know the smokers will find a way to work around the ban. If all else fails, they can find a place to work where they won't have to put up with being discriminated against for their chosen legal activity. This seems like a calculated risk on the company's part, because there are some people who are very good at what they do who are up in arms over this issue and they may wind up losing some valuable people in the long run.
I am too new to chime in much on the subject, other than to tell the smokers that I don't envy them, and to tell the non-smokers that this is yet another reason that I'm glad to have quit.