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An Office Suitable for Smoking


It's "smoke 'em if you got 'em" at Philip Morris

If Mad Men's Don Draper were working today—and still maintaining his considerable nicotine habit—he might want to leave New York City, where smoking in workplaces has been banned since 2003, for Virginia. At the Richmond headquarters of Philip Morris USA, smoking in one's office is acceptable. "Employees who have an office and can close their door are allowed to smoke in them," says Bill Phelps, a spokesman for Altria (MO), the parent company of Philip Morris, which controlled 50.7 percent of the U.S. cigarette market as of 2008. What's more, Draper might even save money. Each Philip Morris employee is allowed either one pack of cigarettes or one tin of dip per day for free. An employee need only swipe his or her badge in one of the company's vending machines.

According to Phelps, cubicle-bound employees can take their cigarette breaks in designated rooms, while nonsmokers on staff can take a breather in specified smoke-free areas. Those wishing to kick the habit can take advantage of the QuitAssist program, which is featured prominently on Philip Morris' Web site. The program links to a menu of methods and resources. Among them is a tip sheet from the Centers for Disease Control that advises employees to "get rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car, and place of work." It also urges them not to smoke after successfully quitting—"not even a puff!" (emphasis theirs). Altria doesn't keep a record of which of its employees smoke and declined to comment on whether insurance companies charge its employees higher premiums.


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