THE managing director of a Stratton firm decided to give his non-smoking employees an extra four days of annual leave.

Don Bryden of KCJ Training and Employment Solutions introduced the new policy as a way of balancing out the extra time that smokers spend on cigarette breaks while their colleagues are at their desks.

Plus, workers who successfully give up cigarettes for a year will then be entitled to the four extra days off. Mr Bryden hopes that other businesses in the area will introduce a similar policy.

Some Adver readers supported the idea while others were less impressed.

JAMES HACKETT: “Anything that encourages people to get healthy gets my vote. Well done.”

BEV CUBBON: “Sadly I wish I could agree with this but I can’t. I totally understand what he’s trying to do but by doing it this way he’s discriminating against the smokers.”

STEVE RICHMOND: “This is genius. I’ve often wondered in the past if I should just down tools for a bit while people go out for a cigarette.”

SARAH MAJOR: “I think it’s patronising. I used to smoke, I don’t now but I wouldn’t have that attitude towards the smokers if I expected them to stay working for me.”

STEPHEN OCKWELL: “Well done to him.

"I know of certain people that will have two smoke breaks in an hour, 15 to 20 mins at a time. Work that out on a weekly basis.”

MARTIN WALKER: “What next? Reward people who don’t drink coffee and tea and therefore don’t spend time in queues for drinks – or maybe those who bring packed lunches rather than using staff canteens. It’s just a slippery slope.”

DAVID NOTLEY-JONES: “Like most things, people abuse the system, so all smokers are put under the same brush. I still think this is a good idea,”

TOBY ROBSON: “Not sure what kind of precedent this really sets.

"There are lots of other lifestyle issues and choices which mean some workers have more time off or away from their desks than others.

“I suspect that if you don’t want to damage morale, holidays and remuneration should be dependent upon people’s actual performance.

“A more positive approach might be to gift a one-off bonus day’s holiday to anyone who successfully gives up for six months as a reward for their effort. But creating a four-day ‘them and us’ between those already smoking and those not? Hmm. I remain to be convinced.”

TERESA MURPHY: “Yes, as a non-smoker, it made me mad that I was always left with some of the work while they were out smoking.”

ANNA WILLIAMS: “Finally, advantages for non-smokers.”

MARK KEYLOCK: “Good on him. Why should non-smokers cover for smokers who get approximately an hour every day off extra for their habit?”

KANDICE LE ROUX: “Really, it should be people who take fag breaks get a shorter lunch break.”

SONIA DYKES: “As a smoker who has smoking breaks I think this is a fair deal. Well done to him.”

JAYNE TIMMINS: “Equal opportunities for non-smokers at last. Why should smokers get more time off than non-smokers?

“Everyone has a choice. Smokers choose to take their four days leave by smoking for an hour a day.”

KAYE KANDE: “Most smokers I know only have a fag at break times. If they are having extra fag breaks, something isn’t right with the firm. People who don’t smoke should have breaks anyway. Smoking starts off a choice but ends up an addiction.”

SAM KEATING: “Great idea, a lot of companies offer perks for healthier lifestyles. If you owned a business I’m sure you’d rather promote a healthy workforce.”