Government Departments: Staff

House of Lords written question – answered on 7th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird UUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the percentage of civil servants employed by the Ministry of Defence who take time off work each year through smoking-related illnesses.

Photo of Lord Astor of Hever Lord Astor of Hever The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The Ministry of Defence does not hold information on whether individual civil servants smoke or not. However, the department does recognise that smoking will make a significant contribution to sickness absence due to diseases of the respiratory system, and to a lesser extent diseases of the circulatory system and neoplasms.

Figures for days lost for these conditions during 2010 and 2011 are contained in the following table. Not all of these absences will be smoking related.

Cause of Absence 2010 2011
Diseases of the respiratory system 70,560 61,320
Diseases of the circulatory system 24,360 22,580
Neoplasms 17,470 17,520


1. Methodology used to calculate rates matches the 2006 Cabinet Office cross Government definition of sickness absence.

2. Excludes Royal Fleet Auxiliary and locally engaged civilians.

3. The Meteorological Office ceased to be part of the MoD on 30 September 2011.

The MoD has robust stop smoking policies in place, including banning smoking in the workplace. We support initiatives to stop smoking and actively encourage employees to give up by involving the NHS and other relevant groups in staff well-being events.

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