Why Do Smokers Get All the Breaks?

Last Updated Aug 13, 2009 4:49 PM EDT

Dear Stanley,

My company allows people who smoke to get an extra time break whenever they feel the urge to light up. Some are away from their work areas 5 or 6 times a day in addition to their regular breaks and lunch. Isn't the company practicing reverse discrimination against those of us who don't smoke, and what can we do if the general manager won't clamp down on the smokers?

Signed,

Smokin' Mad

Dear Intolerant Person,

For some reason, your question annoys me. It makes me feel like you're not very popular with your colleagues and want to get back at them in some way. Who cares if they go off and feed their addiction? They're doing it outside. They can't enjoy themselves at their desks anymore, like they used to.

Back in the day, I used to smoke. I've since quit, and I miss it every day. No, I won't start again, but I used to really like lighting up a cigarette (and sometimes even a nice, fat Macanudo) and having a cup of coffee during a meeting. I thought it was nice. Now we know better. Now we know it's a dirty, smelly habit that only really weak people indulge in and nobody in the entire state you're in has a right to do it in that state. Shame on smokers! Dirty, dirty smokers! Now here they are getting all this free time to go along with their emphysema and lung cancer. It's not fair!

I have a suggestion for you. Tell your manager that you have taken up smoking. Buy yourself a pack. Five or six times a day, excuse yourself for a smoke break, go downstairs and take a walk around the block. On your way back into the building, hang out with the smokers for a while as if you were one of them. Make some friends, why don't you.