Several of my coworkers take regular smoke breaks outside the office a few times per day. I don't smoke, but I join them once or twice a day. There are a few reasons why I find it valuable to do this:
- I enjoy the break, and the conversation
- Spending time with these coworkers builds my rapport with them
- Most importantly, valuable business-related information is often discussed
I'm aware of some of the research around secondhand smoke. In particular, I'm aware that it's considered a no-threshold toxicant, which means that the risk increases with exposure, and that even a small amount of exposure can be harmful. Furthermore, the effects of secondhand smoke are well-known to be harmful.
So why the question? I'm trying to weigh the costs and benefits. Essentially everything we do risks some harm for some reward. (E.g., I gather that bonfires are also a no-threshold toxicant.) Presumably the many people in my situation would like a more nuanced answer as to how much risk am I taking by standing outside next to smokers for 15-30 minutes per day?