Smoking breaks and additional sick leave are costing UK businesses £8.7 billion in lost productivity every year, according to the latest research carried out for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) by Cebr ahead of No Smoking Day on 12th March.

The research shows the average smoker takes four smoking breaks in the working day, lasting for around 10 minutes. Smokers, who make up around 20 percent of the workforce, also take nearly a day (0.7) more of sick leave a year on average compared to their non-smoking colleagues, highlighting the increased likelihood of regular sickness caused by smoking.

This equates to 136 hours of lost productive time every year for the average smoker – costing the average business £1,522 in unproductive wages. But many smokers would welcome the support of their employers in helping to quit their deadly addiction. Seven out of ten (71%) say they would find free information on quitting smoking useful while two thirds (67%) say would like their employers to promote campaigns like Stoptober and No Smoking Day. A further three quarters (78%) would like information about their local stop smoking service for support.

The BHF is calling on employers to join thousands of organisations in running No Smoking Day events on 12th March. Through its free Health at Work programme, the charity can help employers offer support and information for their employees in their attempt to quit.

Businesses can join the Health at Work Programme or order or download free No Smoking Day resources such as posters and fliers by