The requirement for smoke-free workplaces has led to a market for smoking booths—either indoor or outdoor enclosures that provide ventilated air and safer, weatherproof areas where smokers can take smoking breaks while neither leaving the premises nor exposing coworkers to secondhand smoke.
Los Angeles, CA. – October 20, 2010 – B.I.G. Enterprises (www.bigbooth.com), a California-based manufacturer of prefab structures, announces the availability of smoking booths, which allow smokers to come in from the cold—or heat—at work.
Because of the health dangers of secondhand smoke, workplaces in many states no longer allow smoking on work premises. A 2000 Gallup poll found that 95 percent of Americans, smokers and non-smokers, agree that companies should either ban smoking in the workplace or restrict it to separately ventilated areas. According to Danny McGoldrick, vice president for research at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, “About 80 percent of people are nonsmokers, and they prefer to be in a smoke-free environment.” Currently in many workplaces smokers are relegated to outdoor spaces.
According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publication, a new low of 19.8 percent of adults in the U.S. smoke, compared to 25 percent in 1997. Thus, while smoking rates are declining, it seems apparent that discouraging smoking does not deter a “hard core” baseline of smokers. And even where smokers are required to go outside for a cigarette, consumption drops by only 10 percent.
While employers have a legal right to restrict smoking in the workplace or to implement a totally smoke-free workplace policy, some employers are deciding it’s better to keep smokers nearby rather than ban smoking. In some workplaces, workers who sneak cigarettes create hazardous conditions, and companies also worry about lost productivity.
One plastics plant, Formosa Plastics, completely banned smoking when the plant opened. In an environment where cigarettes and volatile chemicals could cause an explosion, this seemed to make sense. But a considerable number of the company’s employees, contractors and vendors smoke, and they were often caught sneaking cigarettes.
Ron Thomas, assistant manager of quality assurance, explains that they installed booths in safe areas instead of choosing to “fire and discipline people.” Violations have disappeared now that workers have ready access to safe smoking booths. Thomas feels the money spent on booths is far outweighed by neutralizing the risk of an explosion.
Employers can choose from B.I.G.’s indoor smoking shelters, which vent smoke either through exhaust or “smoke eaters,” and external smoking shelters, which provide smokers with protection from the elements.
Smoking booths can also ameliorate the problem of large numbers of cigarette butts strewn around outside smoking areas.