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Cigarettes are objectively cool. They can turn an otherwise boring looking man next to the bar into a dark, brooding character that women go wild for. Think Frank Sinatra in Ocean’s Eleven, Justin Bobby in The Hills, or James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause. They are American in every sense of the word and just have a certain air about them. The cigarette dangling loosely from their bottom lip makes them otherworldly and iconic in a way that only an American could be.
As far as I’m concerned, the drawbacks to smoking cigarettes are few and far between. For every “doctor” out there who tells you that smoking increases your chances of lung cancer, you have top lobbyists for Big Tobacco arguing the exact opposite. And who am I just blindly believe the “facts” presented by a bunch of scientists in white lab coats?
We can look at quantitative analysis and years of scientific data that tells us beyond a shadow of a doubt that smoking kills people, but there’s something about those down to earth lobbyists working for tiny salaries at Marlboro that makes me believe this whole “smoking kills” thing is just a giant hoax. These lobbyists go to bat everyday for the little guys – Philip Morris, British American, and Imperial – and for that, those lobbyists and the companies they represent have my utmost respect. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t say I had a small axe to grind with regular cigarette smokers. You see, I’m what some would call a “social smoker.” I’ll buy a pack every now and again, and you might even catch me ripping a lung dart after a hearty meal or to simply escape the crowded, huddled masses inside of a bar for a few minutes. What you won’t find is me waking up every morning and having a cigarette before I step into the office. And you certainly won’t see me getting up from my desk to “step outside” one time every hour for fifteen minutes so I can get a fix.
This is where I have a real problem with regular cigarette smokers. They get a ten to fifteen-minute break every hour, every single day. That’s over one hour of every work day spent smoking cigarettes, and while many will argue that a non-smoker wastes just as much time as their smoking counterparts, I’m inclined to think that those people are full of shit.
The average person slacks off. That’s just part of the unspoken agreement between employer and employee. Countless hours are wasted on sites like this every single day, and that’s to be expected. No one is so naive to think that all of their employees are actually doing work every minute that they’re on the clock. It’s just unrealistic. So yeah, the average employee does slack off during office hours.
But factor in the cigarette breaks and now we’re looking at a whole new subset of disengaged people shirking their responsibilities. Regular cigarette smokers slack off just like their non-cigarette smoking pals, but the non-smokers don’t have the luxury of that extra 15-minute break every hour or so. It’s not fair, and I really don’t know how to remedy the situation. It’s not like we can just ban cigarettes from the workplace. Try telling a regular smoker that they can’t go outside and smoke a fag. It’s the equivalent of telling a child that they can’t have candy for dinner. Temper tantrum, begging, pleading, and finally submission. Wash, rinse, repeat.
They need their fix and they’re going to get it anyway they can. The cigarette break is fucking bullshit. I could go to the bathroom and sit on my phone inside a stall for ten minutes every hour but that would just be boring and also gross. I spend as little time as humanly possible inside work bathrooms for reasons I don’t think I need to explain to you. I love cigarettes to a point.
They’re great when I need to step away from a party for a few minutes or if I just need to decompress after a long day. But nobody needs to be smoking those things once every hour during work. It’s fucking ridiculous, and frankly, I’m just jealous of the extra time off from the cube that all of these smokers get. I’m also convinced that during many of these breaks, these people don’t even want a cigarette. It’s just an excuse to get away and I’m really fucking envious of them.
Should I pull a Rachel Green and just start smoking during work even though I don’t really want to be? Should I go to my bosses and demand that something be done? The reality of the situation is that other than this article, I won’t be doing anything about my unfair working conditions. I’ll huff and puff every time I see one of my coworkers step outside for a sweet, juicy cigarette, but I won’t actually do anything about it because confrontation simply isn’t my thing. I just think some rules should be put in place regarding cigarette breaks because this has gotten completely out of hand. I guess what I want are the perks of being a regular cigarette smoker without actually having to smoke that many cigarettes. .
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