Proposals to allow smokers to take paid time off work to help them quit have been branded as unfair by one expert.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) yesterday published potential guidelines to encourage more people to kick the habit, with one point relating to letting employees have time off without losing pay to attend the relevant clinics.
David Frost, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, told ITV's Lunchtime News programme that such a plan could disadvantage those workers who do not smoke.
"We shouldn't forget that that vast majority of people at work don't smoke and yet they see people that do smoke often popping out three or four times a day round the back of the building for a cigarette," he commented.
He added that it is likely that non-smoking workers will have to cover for those smokers who take time off.
According to Nice, the cost of smoking to British industry is an estimated £5 billion, including the cost of lost productivity, fire damage and absenteeism.