US tobacco company bans employees from smoking at their desks

Reynolds American Inc. will implement the policy at the start of 2015

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The Independent US

As ironies go, this is up there with the best of them - Camel cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc. is banning employees from smoking in its offices and buildings.

The US’s second-biggest tobacco company told workers on Wednesday that the use of traditional cigarettes, cigars or pipes at employee desks or offices, conference rooms, hallways and elevators will be prohibited from the start of next year. 

The move extends a ban on lighting up that already applies on factory floors and in cafeterias and fitness centres.

Spokesman David Howard said the policy will be implemented once Reynolds has built smoking areas to accommodate those who still wish to smoke indoors.

“We believe it's the right thing to do and the right time to do it because updating our tobacco use policies will better accommodate both non-smokers and smokers who work in and visit our facilities,” Howard said.

“We're just better aligning our tobacco use policies with the realities of what you're seeing in society today.”

However, Reynolds will still allow its employees to use smokeless tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and moist snuff. The company also will allow the use of Eclipse, a cigarette made by Reynolds that uses a carbon tip that heats tobacco after being lit by a lighter.

The percentage of Reynolds' 5,200 employees that smoke is in line with the smoking rate in the US. This equates to about 18 per cent of adults, according to the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Additional reporting by Associated Press