Smoking Bans Reduce Company Profitability

Continuing with yesterday’s line of investigation…

I mentioned yesterday that we not only make useful tools that make life easier for ourselves, but also amusements and pastimes with which to pass our idle hours. If the tools and technology we use make idle time for us, the amusements and pastimes use it up.

I’m going to guess that half the working population of Britain is making and selling useful things like food and clothing and houses and cars and computers and medicine, and half are making and selling amusements and pastimes like books and fashionable clothes and perfumes and fluffy toys and tobacco and whisky. I don’t need these things. I can live without them. It’s just that life without them wouldn’t be much fun.

Perhaps the antismokers are just trying to rid us of anything that isn’t strictly necessary? I’ve suggested this several times before. Perhaps these puritanical killjoys are just trying to strip away everything that is inessential for survival?

Anyway, if half of what is being produced and sold is inessential, then half of the work that is being done is inessential work making fluffy toys and lampshades and necklaces.

Yesterday I estimated that we were living 76% idle lives. But if half the work being done is unnecessary work, then really the 24% of work could be halved to 12%, and we’d have an 88% idle society.

So just 12 people in 100 need to work to maintain 100 people. And their productivity in terms of idle time/work time is 100/12, or 8.3 hours/hour.

Now many of these working people will be smokers, and not only does tobacco increase IQ by 6 points, but also tobacco increases work capacity.

In a somewhat unscientific way, it is probably safe to say that if non-nicotine users perform 1.0, then nicotine users will perform up to 1.25 – with smokers as the absolute top performers. At the same time nicotine users – especially smokers – who fail to maintain nicotine levels will perform down to 0.75.

So what happens when smoking is banned in workplaces, and the work capacity of the smokers drops from 1.25 to 1.00? The productivity of the workforce will drop. And so if smokers make up 25% of the workforce, and are its most productive members, then initially the work capacity of the workforce will be (0.75 x 1.0 + 0.25 x 1.25) or 1.06, and after the smoking ban, assuming smokers become just as productive as non-smokers, the work capacity of the workforce will fall to 1.0. It may actually fall even lower.

And this will reduce the productivity of the workforce. With work capacity at 1/1.06 or 94% of its pre-smoking ban level, they’ll only be able to do 94% of the work they’d previously been able to do in the same time. Or they’d have to work 1.06 hours to do the same work that they did in 1 hour. And so their productivity would fall from 8.3 hours/hour to 8.3 hours/1.06 hours or 7.8 hours/hour, and there’d need to be 12*1.06 or 13 workers needed to maintain every 100 people, and social idleness would fall from 88% to 87%.

And this fall in productivity and idleness would have been experienced immediately the smoking ban was introduced, because the drop in work capacity of workers would fall on the very first day of the ban. Companies everywhere would find that they were failing to meet production targets, and were having to pay out more in overtime wages, or hire new staff. There’d be a general fall in profitability of companies. There’d be an economic slump, which would only show up in the companies’ books over the next quarter.

None of this takes into account the fall in productivity associated with workers who used to be able to smoke on the job being forced to take smoking breaks that they never used to take before. If someone takes a 5 minute smoking break every hour, it’s going to take them 65/60 or 1.08 times as long to get the same job done as before.

It also doesn’t take into account the fact that if smoking increases work capacity in smokers, it’s probably having a slight effect on non-smokers inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke. The productivity of smokers might fall sharply with the introduction of a smoking ban, but the productivity of their non-smoking co-workers would have probably fallen slightly as well.

The UK smoking ban was introduced on 1 July 2007, and was followed by the 2007-2008 Credit Crunch, after which a prolonged slump followed. I’ve already argued in the past that when smokers were “exiled to the outdoors”, they stopped spending as much as they used to do in pubs and cafes, and cut their spending on everything else as well. So there is a double whammy that comes with smoking bans: the profitability of all businesses suffers as workforce productivity drops, and they also sell fewer products. And the same would be happening all over the world at more or less the same time, as more and more countries introduced workplace smoking bans.

It follows that a repeal of smoking bans would be accompanied by an economic boom during which worker productivity would return to previous levels, and exiled smokers would return to pubs and cafes, and spend more money on everything else as well. Companies of every description would find the profitability of their companies boosted, and sales enhanced.

About Frank Davis

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13 Responses to Smoking Bans Reduce Company Profitability

  1. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Very true Frank ! I used to spend freely in pubs 4 days a week. Now its down to 1 night. I believe i was fairly typical. Repeal the ban and revive the surviving pubs I say.

  2. Smoking Lamp says:

    Smoking bans have chilled public life. Bit, there are always more smokers outdoors than indoors in many places these days. I suspect that’s the reason for the rise of outdoor bans. After if smoking is unnecessary–and the astroturf antismokers bring that up a lot–then there is no need to smoke outdoors either. I can’t help thinking that this ins’t about health. All the indicators are wrong for that. The so-called anti-smoking diseases are increasing but smoking has been on the decline for over 50 years. It appears that antismoking (antitbrcco in general) is more of a cult than a scientific enterprise. The antismokers abandoned true science years ago and suppress any inquiry other than their own cult studies to this day. Tobacco control is now seeking to attack all nicotine even though it is essentially harmless. They can’t stand anything except their cult doctrine. Tobacco control must be destroyed!

  3. Rose says:

    I don’t think I could afford to have a social life again, amongst other things to pass the time, I’ve taken up working in silver and gold and learned to set them with precious stones. Saves a fortune and every piece is unique, but the materials cost a much smaller fortune as well.

  4. Rose says:

    ‘Smoking ban in jail was behind the disorder at HMP Hewell’

    “A PRISON officer was taken to hospital following an ‘incident’ at HMP Hewell over the weekend where up to 30 prisoners caused ‘significant damage’ to a prison wing.
    ‘Tornado’ squads, equipped to deal with riots, were sent to the category B prison about 7.30pm after trouble broke out on Saturday (July 22).
    It was reported shouting and swearing, as well as banging and dogs barking, could be heard from outside.

    The Prison Officers Association (POA) confirmed inmates were believed to have been under the influence of ‘hooch’ and the psychotic substance, spice, had previously been smuggled into the prison using drones.

    A smoking ban was enforced on Monday which is believed to have fuelled the incident.

    Jackie Marshall, National Executive Council (NEC) member of the POA, said: “Significant damage was caused to the wing and up to 80 prisoners, not all involved, have since been dispersed to other prisons.

    “A smoking ban is currently in place as the whole Prison Service is set to be smoke free.
    “Second hand smoke is a serious issue and a danger to staff.”

    Looks like the nicotine patches aren’t working.

    • Joe L. says:

      The Prison Officers Association (POA) confirmed inmates were believed to have been under the influence of ‘hooch’ and the psychotic substance, spice, had previously been smuggled into the prison using drones.

      I hadn’t considered the use of drones to deliver contraband to prisoners. This could become a serious issue–instead of hooch and synthetic pot, drones could drop weapons in secluded areas, yet the Powers That Be seem more concerned with banning smoking. Go figure.


      “Staff shortages are also big problem at HMP Hewell.”

      Now that the prison is smoke free, shouldn’t there be hordes of nonsmokers lining up to apply for jobs there, just like swarms of U.K. nonsmokers rushed out to their local pubs in July of 2007? Right … nevermind.

  5. Dmitri says:

    Dear Rose & all, thank you for yesterdays’ avalanche of facts & ideas in response to my question about “premature ageing of the skin”. I’ll have to sort it out, and something tells me it will take time.
    In the meantime I did my own search and discovered that the “scientific” base of that claim is 2 reports. One is “a Japanese study” (I’m still looking for a link to it), where the Japs shaved off some skin cells, put it into some ugly liquid and used nicotine (or something) against these cells. The cells stopped developing some proteins needed to keep the skin tight. Hm. Have to find that jewel and see if there were any peer reviews or other skeptical remarks.
    While the other report somebody have mentioned yesterday – the Twin Study. Again, I look for a link. But in any case, somebody found 75 pairs of twins, in each case one twin was smoking, the other did not. There are photos demonstrating that SOME smoking twins looked decidedly worse for wear. Well, I think I can handle that one (if I see all the figures). That’s a beautiful case of junk science.
    And thanks to Frank for good ideas about productivity of smokers. Looks like I’ll steal it for some of my future columns. Writers always steal ideas. Bulgakov (might be the best of all the golden 20th century) certainly did it.

    • Rose says:

      Collagen from tobacco shows great promise

      “Hebrew University professior has produced a replica of human collagen from tobacco plants – an achievement with great commercial implications.”

      “Natural human type I collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and the main protein in all connective tissue. Commercially produced collagen (pro-collagen) is used in surgical implants and many wound-healing devices in regenerative medicine. The current market for collagen-based medical devices in orthopedics and wound healing exceeds $30 billion annually worldwide.

      Commercial collagen is currently produced from farm animals such as cows and pigs as well as from human cadavers. These materials are prone to harbor human pathogens such as viruses or prions (Creutzfeldt-Jakob or “mad-cow” disease). Human cadavers are scarce, and for certain indications possesses serious ethical issues.”

      “Shoseyov says the company collagen is not less expensive than animal-source collagen, but is safer and performs much better, since it is “virgin” collagen rather than “old or used” animal or cadaver collagen.”

      Green Pharmaceuticals – Tobacco

      Looking briefly at nicotine and collagen there are as many studies that say nicotine increases it as say that nicotine depletes it.

      But bear in mind that we “oxidize” it first. I’ve never seen so many people in complete denial of the ancient principle of “transformation by fire”

    • Frank Davis says:

      And thanks to Frank for good ideas about productivity of smokers. Looks like I’ll steal it for some of my future columns. Writers always steal ideas. Bulgakov (might be the best of all the golden 20th century) certainly did it.

      I wish more people would steal more of my ideas.

  6. Joe L. says:

    Great post, Frank. The reduction in productivity (and also creativity) is an important side-effect that has been completely ignored by research and the media in the wake of smoking bans.

    I can’t help but wonder if this was expected and intended, as part of the “leveling of the playing field” (i.e., the new “equality”). I wouldn’t be surprised if some mediocre and/or lazy Antismoking employees couldn’t stand playing second fiddle to smokers in their workplaces. By clamoring for workplace smoking bans, they could not only decrease smokers’ productivity, but they could also portray smokers as “lazy” for taking “smoke breaks.” Food for thought, at least.

  7. In Victoria, Australia on 1 August this week, smoking will be banned even outside areas and beer gardens. You will not be able to smoke if you are within 4 m of diners. For +9 years I have faithfully had Saturday lunch at my local pub. Yesterday was the last time. Very sad state of affairs. What an imposition on my liberties, not to mention those of all publicans’.

  8. Rose says:

    Incidentally, while trawling through the archives for Dmitri , I came across this little horror, I’m so glad that the link still works.

    Shortly after the new discoveries about the properties of Nitric Oxide were made known, it appears that The Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, attempted a little damage limitation.

    Tobacco-Related Disease Research Programme 1999
    Research for a Healthier California

    Effect of tobacco smoke on nitric oxide synthesis
    Initial Award Abstract

    Award: $140,000

    Initial Award Abstract
    “Smoking may lead to hypertension and stroke due to the decreased ability for the body to synthesize nitric oxide (NO)”

    Final Report
    “Cigarette smoking is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease through increased hypertension and platelet aggregation. Both symptoms of which may be caused by decreased endogenous nitric oxide (NO) formation. NO has been shown to be an Important regulator of blood flow and smooth muscle relaxation. It has been previously shown that cigarette smoking reduces the production of endogenous NO. However, the mechanism of the decrease in NO levels has yet to be determined”

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