Monday, November 20, 2006

Cutting the Pay of Smokers?

Writing in Fast Company, Ian Wylie notes tough times ahead for smokers:

Smoking is no longer welcome at the movies. Philip Morris's leading brand, Marlboro, is reckoned to have featured in 74 of Hollywood's top-grossing films in the past 15 years, but this week the world's largest tobacco manufacturer ran up a white flag. "We do not want our brands or brand imagery depicted in movies and television shows," reads an ad running this week in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and other industry publications.

Is this what the endgame for Big Tobacco looks like? Here in Europe, home of the moody, espresso-primed drag, public policy and opinion are swinging decisively into action. Ireland, Italy, Malta, Norway and Sweden have all banished tobacco from the workplace, restaurants and even pubs. Spain's partial ban allows smoking only in tapas bars and cafés or lounges. Even in France, a coming decree will ban smoking in restaurants next year, and in all public places from 2008.

Now in Italy an association of personnel managers has this week recommended smokers' pay be cut on the grounds that workers who take smoking breaks do an hour a day less work than others.

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