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As everyone knows, one of the few problems with smoke-free workplaces is the unsightly, messy groups of smoking employees they can spawn, hanging around the front door of otherwise smart buildings, giving a bad impression of the business inside. There was even a story from Australia some years ago, after government buildings went totally smoke-free and groups of smartly dressed young women employees began smoking on their doorsteps—foreign tourists reportedly commented on the high class appearance of women they assumed were prostitutes.
A novel approach to this problem was seen recently in Manchester, proudly described by its inhabitants as England’s second city, with a record of doing today what the rest of the country does tomorrow. It certainly clocked up another first when a go-ahead company boss, sick of people from nearby buildings smoking outside his offices, even sitting on the office window sills and leaving the usual debris of cigarette butts, empty packs and other litter, decided to erect a “facility” that might deter them.
After four years of politely asking the smoking workers of other employers to go elsewhere (his own have a special smoking room), company boss Nigel Sarbutts commissioned a special coffin shaped “smoking booth” and had it placed outside his offices. Mr Sarbutts’s company works in public relations and advertising. “We are in the image business. We have clients coming in,” he explained to journalists, adding, with a heartfelt multiplicity of meaning, “It just looks rubbish.”
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