To see nothing wrong with these workplace smoking rules

(82 Posts)
doingthesplitz Thu 05-Sep-13 11:42:40

Our HR Department has introduced some new rules re smoking breaks eg No smoking break within one hour of clocking in (we are on flexi) or for half an hour before clocking out; one morning smoke break must be taken as part of your normal coffee break; smoking breaks should not last more than five minutes and should be kept to an absolute minimum.

Most of us can see where HR are coming from. There were a few staff members who were constantly disappearing for a smoke; would clock in when they arrived in work and immediately go outside for a cigarette; stand outside smoking for twenty minutes in the evening and then come in, clock out and go home; and would take a full coffee break and then immediatly go on a smoking break.

However, some of the smokers are moaning and giving out and saying 'God, next thing we'll start getting told how many times we can go to the loo' etc.
AIBU to think they should just shut up about it. At least now they might be around occasionally to answer their own phones.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Thu 05-Sep-13 11:45:29

When I worked somewhere you had to clock in and out the smokers were expected to sign out when they went for a fag. Seems entirely reasonable to me.

Callani Thu 05-Sep-13 11:46:08

Nothing unreasonable about these rules if you ask me. Where I work you get 1 hour for lunch unpaid and if you smoke you take it out of your lunch break. It still leaves a lot of non-smokers who never take the full hour anyway but it's better than nothing.

AnyFucker Thu 05-Sep-13 11:47:12

Yes, the whining addicts should STFU about it

If it were up to me fag breaks wouldn't be allowed at all

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 05-Sep-13 11:48:11

That is more than reasonable. I would have more restrictions than that if I were writing the 'rules'!

Sparklymommy Thu 05-Sep-13 11:48:21

I think that's quite a reasonable set of rules to be fair. Then again I am a non smoker!

DefiniteMaybe Thu 05-Sep-13 11:48:44

Fags breaks have never been allowed at my jobs. You use your normal break times to smoke.

jacks365 Thu 05-Sep-13 11:49:49

Last place I worked you couldn't smoke on site at all and all cigarettes had to be smoked off site on official breaks or with permission of line manager in exceptional circumstances (stressful customer helpline). I've never worked anywhere where people could just go for a smoke break.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 05-Sep-13 11:50:16

ie - no additional smoking breaks.

Before work
20 mins morning tea break
1 hour lunch break
20 mins afternoon tea break
After work

Surely plenty of time to smoke there? - and no long stretches without a break!

DoJo Thu 05-Sep-13 11:50:52

Sounds reasonable to me - after all someone who was popping outside to make personal phone calls for five minutes at a time would have sanctions so why should any other personal habit be tolerated (and I say this as a smoker - never smoked apart from on my lunch break when I was at work).

exexpat Thu 05-Sep-13 11:51:28

I'm surprised there is still such a thing as an official smoking break during paid working hours, to be honest.

KellyElly Thu 05-Sep-13 11:54:36

Sounds pretty fair to me (and I smoke).

official smoking break?

Im surprised at that, here if you smoke you do it on your lunch break and that is it.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 05-Sep-13 11:55:29

I have never understood why people who smoke think that those who don't choose to be addicted to something should do their work for them while they indulge their filthy habit.

If I was making the rules there would be no smoking breaks at all. It is revolting to be sitting at your desk and someone who has come in from a fag break to come and sit next to you and breathe over you, utterly gross.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Thu 05-Sep-13 11:59:52

I used to work flexi-time years ago and when smoking was first banned in the office (I used to sit across from a woman who smoked at her desk, complete with huge overflowing ashtray) smokers were given their smoke breaks(in the smoking room, on the same floor as reception so you can guess what smell hit anyone who came into our office). One of the non-smokers sat and worked out how much extra time away from the desk/phones smokers were getting in a year, and demanded the same amount of time added to non-smokers flex time. I think it worked out at about 25 hours a year. Non smokers didn't get the extra time, and it did cause resentment for some.

I don't think those rules are unreasonable at all.

flowery Thu 05-Sep-13 12:04:08

Pretty outdated to get smoking breaks at all IMO. Most employers would consider coffee and lunch breaks perfectly sufficient to enable those who choose to smoke to do so.

If they don't like the rules, they should consider that if they hadn't been abusing the fact that they were allowed to take breaks in the first place, there would have been no need to become so prescriptive about it.

NatashaBee Thu 05-Sep-13 12:04:49

YANBU at all.

500internalerror Thu 05-Sep-13 12:10:23

It does wind me up a lot when certain people at work go on about how busy they are, no time for anything, they'll never get through their workload - then give me something to do, which means I stop my own stuff, and they go off for a fag sad. Because of my own personal bugbears, I'm totally against fag breaks at all. Why can't you use your normal breaks, like people do for everything else?? End of rant.

Bumblebee333 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:10:33

I dont think that is unreasonable at all. I am a smoker. I work 8 - 6 with half an hour lunch but I usually take about 20mins. I got for a cig break (about 3mins) at 10, 12 then lunch at 1, then cig at 3, and 5. Due to my transport circumstances I arrive at work 15 mins early everyday though so i don't feel I am taking the piss with cig breaks.

Lweji Thu 05-Sep-13 12:12:33

If they don't like those rules, are they prepared to clock in and off every time they have a smoke break and make up for the extra time?

TVTonight Thu 05-Sep-13 12:13:57

HR should ban smoking on the premises.

ComtesseDeSpair Thu 05-Sep-13 12:15:43

My work takes a draconian step further and also forbids smoking entirely for customer-facing employees within working hours. So many customers complained about two or three particularly heavy smoking staff who frankly reek of stale smoke, more so just after they've had a fag, and aren't pleasant to be near. However, my company does recognise that employees work better when regular and unquestioned breaks are allowed for a leg-stretch, some fresh air, to run a quick errand or just for a change of scenery. Nobody abuses it and we are indeed a very content and efficient workforce.

Nancy66 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:17:51

It's pretty standard.

There was a time when nipping out for a fag became a bit of a social for smokers. They'd go in groups, chat, have a coffee and a smoking break would last 10 minutes. Have one of these an hour and a smoker ends up working about six hours a week less than a non smoker.

fatdaddy72 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:22:51

If we want to smoke we can as long as it's not excessive. I would frown upon any of my team going for a smoke within an hour of starting though. Non smokers are also welcome to get up and grab 5 minutes if and when they need as well.

Arabesque Thu 05-Sep-13 12:23:13

There's nothing unreasonable about those rules. But it's amazing how oblivious some smokers are to the inconvenience and annoyance they cause to others - whether it's forcing them to inhale second hand smoke; inflicting the stink of stale cigarette smoke on them; or constantly leaving their desks for a fag and assuming other colleagues are happy to take phone calls, field queries, wait for them to return so they can follow up on things etc etc.

Where I used to work smokers would round each other up to go outside for a cigarette and a nice long chat. The same people, always outside the door puffing away when you were going in and out of the building and no doubt moaning about how busy and stressed and overworked they were.

limitedperiodonly Thu 05-Sep-13 12:23:28

Have many people been sloping off for long fag breaks? Does no one else ever skive?

I don't like blanket rules - except for safety, of course. When I was a manager I preferred to tackle people individually but only if their behaviour really was affecting their work.

People often say they don't like confrontation, but as a manager it's your job, if not exactly to confront people, then to have awkward conversations with them from time to time.

I used to get people coming to me complaining about skiving smokers. Sometimes I'd take the opportunity to say: 'While it's on my mind. I'm grateful that you turn up on time but I'm going to have to ask you to stop disappearing to the loo for 20 minutes to do your make up or the canteen to have your breakfast every day.'

I've yet to meet the perfect employee. Including me. I don't smoke btw.

ivykaty44 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:28:17

there is no additional breaks for smokers where I work -they have to smoke in their breaks or at lunch time.
TBH I am glad as the stink as the smokers come back inside is awful

Arabesque Thu 05-Sep-13 12:32:46

True, but in many workplaces there seems to be a silent acceptance of overly long or numerous smoking breaks and it is helpful for managers to have an official policy to back them up when raising this with staff.

Personally, I would have no problem with HR Depts also making it clear that you should only clock in when you are actually ready to start work and not simply when you arrive into the building. I too have worked with people who clock in at 8.00 am every morning before disappearing to the loo to apply their make up or to the canteen to have their breakfast. I used to work with someone who used to clock in and then go and have a shower and do her face every single morning - she would then claim she had a 'day worked up' every month, allowing her to take a long weekend.

TallulahBetty Thu 05-Sep-13 12:35:26

YANBU - fag breaks aren't allowed where I work and where most people I know work.

VoiceOfRaisin Thu 05-Sep-13 12:37:34

YANBU I don't understand why any smoking breaks should be on paid time at all. It is not the same as going to the loo which is a necessity. Smoking is a choice.

I didn't realise you could have smoking breaks nowadays! When I worked it was 1 during mid morning 15 minute break. 1 during lunch hour and 1 during afternoon 15 minute break. unless it was just me and asst manager in and then we'd go as and when but I had no problems with that because we used to get the most work done out of everyone despite the fagbreaks

greenfolder Thu 05-Sep-13 12:49:58

last place i worked was flexi and had simple rules;

you always had to clock in and out for smoking breaks. you could not take them 10-12 or 2-4. everybody had to do their weeks hours before going home on friday.

it worked

shrinkingnora Thu 05-Sep-13 12:53:14

I have never worked anywhere with smoking breaks. All smoking had to be in your other breaks. This includes places that only had a lunch break. Fond memories of trying to smoke 5 fags in a 30 minutes lunch break.

ShabbyButNotChic Thu 05-Sep-13 13:39:50

Yanbu and im a smoker. I work in a school so the whole site is non smoking, if you want a smoke you have a wander down the road. Obviously this can only be done at break/lunch time. I dont see why smokers should get extra, but i would also point out that some people are just timewasters, whether they smoke or not. There used to be a teacher where i work who was famous for taking 15mins to make a coffee, leaving her nta to sort the class. Some people just take the piss.

My dad works for a large company, and goes for smoke breaks whenever he likes, but he is also an hour early every day (beat the traffic) and is fantastic at his job. So the big bosses dont care if he pops out for the odd 10mins. He has also been known to do lots of networking in the smoking shelter, at one point he even held a meeting there as all of the bosses smoke! Says it was the old days smile

KellyElly Thu 05-Sep-13 14:04:44

I also think excessive coffee breaks should be banned grin. The person who takes the most breaks at my work is not even a smoker, possibly a caffeine addict though. He has a tea/coffee break at least every hour for about 10 minutes and turns the TV on in the staff canteen and watches it while he drinks his coffee!!

twistedtoffee Thu 05-Sep-13 14:16:11

I don't see their issue. They are being asked, where possible, to smoke in their own time and to keep smoking breaks during working hours as short as possible. It sounds as if they've been getting away with murder for ages and have now lost all perspective.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 14:26:11

Depends on the building. If it takes a couple of mins to get out and round to the smoking area them you're effectively banning it.

Am amazed at all the official coffee breaks! I have only had one job which had a breaks except lunch and that was15 years ago! If a company has lunch plus breaks morning and afternoon them that'sgenerous and enough to smoke IMO.

specialsubject Thu 05-Sep-13 14:38:21

company either bans stink-breaks altogether (you take drugs in your own time) or provides widely separated outdoor shelters, one smoking and one no-smoking. The smoking one should be as far as possible from the building.

all very well to let the non-smokers go out too, but if the building is surrounded by the reekers it is most unpleasant.

surprised this hasn't all gone the way of official coffee breaks.

limitedperiodonly Thu 05-Sep-13 14:47:10

Stink-breaks and reekers?

I don't smoke. Neither do I feel that hostile towards smokers.

zzzzz Thu 05-Sep-13 14:48:05

The only problem for me would have been it takes me 7 minutes to smoke a cig, add walking out and back adds a few minutes too.

I don't smoke anymore but for me this seems weirdly prescriptive. Are there similar rules for tea/coffee brewing?

luxemburgerli Thu 05-Sep-13 14:49:17

The ones moaning about it are probably the ones who are taking the piss, and leading to the rule in the first place.

I doubt all the smokers feel like that.

Dahlen Thu 05-Sep-13 14:55:04

limitedperiodonly made a very post I think. None of us are perfect and we all work at different rates. I would much prefer an employee to smoke and work hard around those breaks than employ someone who coasted all day but didn't take any smoking breaks at all.

However, I have no problem with banning smoking on-site completely. A lunch break will ordinarily be long enough for someone to go off-site to smoke, and anyone who can't go that long without one really ought to consider seeking help for an addiction that has reached unmanageable levels.

KellyElly Thu 05-Sep-13 15:35:31

7 minutes to smoke a cig shock You were a very slow smoker grin

LeoandBoosmum Thu 05-Sep-13 15:57:19

The smokers' argument is ridiculous... Going for a smoke break is not fundamental, having a wee is! Also, if a person needs the loo frequently then they can get a doctor's note to that end, whereas a smoker will be hard-pressed to find a doctor to give them a doctor's note for smoke breaks. It never ceases to amaze me how smokers get pissed off about these things. They are there to work. Why should non-smokers stay at their desks while colleagues sod off every half an hour for their nicotine fix. I don't smoke, never have, can you tell?! grin

spongebob13 Thu 05-Sep-13 16:06:53

thing is smokers are an easy target as they are seen NOT at their desk. however where I work those that smoke have a quick smoke ON their breaks as they are conscious of it and the whispers while the non smokers are physically at their desks but sipping coffee and internet browsing for half an hour. its not black and white.

but OP what you posted sounds very very reasonable.

shrinkingnora Thu 05-Sep-13 16:10:02

I've worked in a school where staff had to turns blind eye to a kid who snuck out to smoke at break time because he was unteachably foul if he hadn't had any nicotine.

PresidentServalan Thu 05-Sep-13 21:48:01

I work an average of 11 hours a day (get paid for 7 of those!) - I have the type of job where it's busy when it's busy iyswim - I do sneak out for the occasional fag break (I timed it once, it is less than five minutes from leaving my desk to getting back to it. We are supposed to only smoke during lunchtimes as we have no other set breaks. I have no issue in popping outside for a few mins twice a day when my firm gets an average of an extra 2-3 days a week from me for free!

ShadowSummer Thu 05-Sep-13 21:58:45

The rules in the OP's workplace sound reasonable to me. Although I am a non-smoker anyway.

My workplace implemented similar rules a few years back because a number of heavy smokers were taking the piss with smoking breaks. So they said that smokers were only allowed one 5 min cigarette break in the morning and one in the afternoon. Plus as many as they could fit into their lunch break.

missingmumxox Thu 05-Sep-13 23:53:34

as a Smoker and one who nips out, but still I don't think these rules are unreasonable, It is aways remarked that Oh are you back already? I smoke and go only about 1/2 a fag and I do it when I am get stuck...bad habit, my job is problem solving and sometime I just get stuck, I gave up for 7 years and then I used to walk round the block which took longer, outcome the same gave me space to think.

I have worked for 3 bosses who preferred smokers as they "would bloody well organise their work so they can get off" they where all non smokers

I too have found this smokers are aware when they go off they need to be organised, non smokers don't feel bad about going for the weigh in, chat in the post rom, 15 mins in the coffee room, as above, look at bbc news on line, google, Mumsnet smile, book a holiday, text, phone family and friends.

just because you are physically at your desk doesn't mean you work more again like another poster I had a boss who used to clock his time in at work from the moment he parked in the carpark and would then read his paper? I would seehim because I would be there but droppping my children off at the nursery I would get in 20 minutes later and he claimed 1/2 every day!!

utreas Thu 05-Sep-13 23:57:28

YANBU I would ban cigarette bans totally,if you want to spend your lunch break smoking then fair enough but otherwise do it before and after work not during.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 06-Sep-13 00:00:17

I smoke.

Don't have/take smoking breaks. I smoke before,at lunch and after. I don't combust with the need for nicotine.

LimitedEditionLady Fri 06-Sep-13 00:08:57

I smoke and requesting an extra break to smoke at work would be laughed at.If you have an addiction thats your addiction,do it in your own time!!We can only smoke in our own break time and I find I rarely smoke even in them because I am so busy I just wana have a brew and sit down.

Wallison Fri 06-Sep-13 00:11:14

I am imagining specialsubject pounding the keyboard with impotent fists of fury. Everyone wants to put the boot into smokers these days.

Even people who smoke electronic cigs are being targeted; was on a train recently and an announcement came on that electronic cigarettes were not allowed on the train. Have also heard of them being banned in some restaurants. It's water vapour, ffs! Proof if proof were needed that a lot of this anti-smoking stuff is not about fear of catching cancer from someone who has smoked a fag nowhere near you 20 mins before but actually about controlling people's behaviour.

LimitedEditionLady Fri 06-Sep-13 00:14:19

I have an electronic cig and feel naughty smoking it inside....i push my chair right back away from people even though its doing them no harm in the slightest.ha.I dont think id use it on a train or in a restaurant more because I dont want to do it in front of impressionable i daft?

Wallison Fri 06-Sep-13 00:16:07

I'd say you're not daft but restaurants and train companies banning them are being completely ott. It's just the same as steam off a cup of tea or coffee.

usualsuspect Fri 06-Sep-13 00:19:21

I go out for a fag in my lunch break.

that's it.

So not every smoker is a whining addict.

If you were allowed to smoke at your desk, there would be no need to stop working.

Some of the employees became addicted long before the rules stating that you weren't allowed to work and smoke at the same time.

And for some of you judgy types, smoking isn't a choice for most people now, it is an addiction. Addiction is not the same thing as choice.

Wallison Fri 06-Sep-13 00:23:03

Anyway, I think the rules sound more than reasonable compared to a lot of firms - surely in most places you just wouldn't be allowed smoking breaks at all? Not that I think that's right, but it seems to be they way things are going.

1944girl Fri 06-Sep-13 00:40:37

I like to have a smoke.

I am now retired but when I worked there was a policy for smokers.You either took your 1 hour break, or went for a smoke when things were quiet and did without your official break.

It was not just the smokers who took liberties though.I remember one workmate, a non smoker, who was a union rep.He would always announce he had to see someone urgently who needed union advice, and disappear(sp) for half an hour.This always seemed to co-incide with busy times so we always wondered if it was genuine union business he was on or just an excuse for a skive.

I know smokers cause a nuisence because I was one, but it is not just smokers who do disappearing acts in work time.

MidniteScribbler Fri 06-Sep-13 01:12:56

It's banned completely at my workplace by law, so no options for smoke breaks. Fortunately we have no smokers on staff, so no one complains.

Why can't they just smoke on heir morning tea/lunch breaks ?
Used to really pi$$ me off when I worked that smokers popped out when they liked for a cigarette ! everyone should get the same breaks, and what you do on them (make calls, read etc or smoke) is your business.

their breaks even . . .

AnnaKissed Fri 06-Sep-13 06:17:06

Can MN addicts pop out for 5 minutes on their phone whenever they feel like it? grin

Jinsei Fri 06-Sep-13 07:11:11

I'm surprised at how many people are saying that smokers should use their morning/afternoon tea breaks. I've never worked anywhere where I've had formal breaks for tea/coffee - normally it's just a case of grabbing a coffee and drinking it at your desk.

I don't mind if the smokers in my office nip out for a fag every now and then, as long as they're getting their work done! Likewise, people can make as many cups of tea and coffee as they like, I'm not counting. They're employed to do a job, and I'm happy to let them get on with it. That said, we did have one employee who took the piss, and couldn't do the work he was supposed to do because he was outside smoking all the time. We let him go during his probationary period!!

SHarri13 Fri 06-Sep-13 07:15:10

Sounds very reasonable to me!

I smoke where I work now I have a hours lunch but break it down to a 15 min break in morning and afternoon and a 30 lunch break and only smoke in that time I used to do nights and started at 10pm till 6:15 am and got one 40 min break at 1am and smoked then though the perm would sneek off for a ciggie and would also have a 20 min break at 4am I never worked anywhere where you just went for cig cos you felt like one

ithaka Fri 06-Sep-13 07:28:02

StarlightMacKenzie Saying something is an addiction does not absolve addicts of their responsibility for it.

It is possible to quit addictions - hard, but possible. I am not sure employers should enable their employees addictions. In general, enabling addicts is seen as unhelpful behaviour - addicts have to learn to take responsibility and own their behaviour is they are ever going to have the chance to break the addiction.

wonderingsoul Fri 06-Sep-13 08:03:03

im a smoker and they seem very fair to me.

Melonbreath Fri 06-Sep-13 08:27:39

I'm a smoker and that's really generous.
I would go outside, and shave 5 minutes off my lunchbreak for it. after certain people complained that I was getting time out I pointed out they spent up to half an hour making coffees and nattering in the kitchen an offered to clock in and out if they would too.
I never got complained about again.

starfishmummy Fri 06-Sep-13 08:28:33

Back in the day when or office introduced a smoking room the idea was that people would take some work to do while they were in there. Dont think it ever happened.

Featherbag Fri 06-Sep-13 09:15:04

Where I work we do 13 hour shifts, we get an unofficial 20 minute breakfast break on a morning, no one is allowed to leave the building. Lunch is 30 minutes unpaid, you can do what you like but to smoke you must go to the changing room, get completely changed out of your work uniform and shoes, then go off the premises (5 minute walk to perimeter) if you want to smoke. 30 minute tea break (unofficial so paid), no one allowed to leave premises. No one complains! And none of these breaks are guaranteed, one or more of them often doesn't happen.

hackmum Fri 06-Sep-13 09:22:38

How times change. In ye olden days, smokers just used to smoke at their desk of course, and everyone was happy (apart from the non-smokers). When I started working in an office, there was a smoking room where people went for their fag breaks - and that seemed to work as a place for informal networking, giving the smokers one-up on the poor old non-smokers. Now the poor old smokers have to stand out in the rain and wind puffing away desperately for no more than five minutes. Poor wee things.

mrsjay Fri 06-Sep-13 09:25:31

I am a smoker that sounds reasonable I dont work full time anymore but I didnt get fag breaks you go on your teabreaks and lunchtime, ,

GingerBlackAndOriental Fri 06-Sep-13 09:32:39

I'm a smoker. No where I have worked has allowed 'smoke breaks'.

Would usually get a 15 minute break in the morning, 30 mins for lunch and 15mins in the afternoon. If you wanted to smoke you did it in those breaks which everyone got.

I don't understand 'smoke breaks'. Shouldn't be allowed IMO.

luxemburgerli Fri 06-Sep-13 18:03:43

Poor wee things my bum, hackmum grin

LustyBusty Fri 06-Sep-13 18:46:39

Where I work I am allowed to smoke on my lunch break only.
Bit of context... Flexi time, have to be at work 9-12, 2-4, 37.5 hours a week. Initially I was starting at 7:45, cig 8:55-9, 12-12:05, 1-1:05, butty at desk, cig at 1:55-2, 4-4:05, home at 5. I would book 45 mins a day "lunch" (non working time), but would only really be taking 30 mins. During this time one of my colleagues took 1hr5 mins to make a cuppa for 5 (I kid you not-she took my cup at 9:50, I collected it on my way past the kitchen to my 11am meeting). I got pulled up for "abusing the flexitime rules and wasting time" and was told I was not allowed to split my lunch break (eg 3x 10 min breaks for 30 min lunch). So now I arrive at work at 7:50, have a ciggie, clock in at 8. Lunch is 12:30-1 and I leave at 4 on the dot. They lose.

LustyBusty Fri 06-Sep-13 18:47:32

Sorry, started ranting there... OP, YANBU. I'd love those smoking rules!! grin

Kendodd Fri 06-Sep-13 18:51:04

I used to work somewhere that the smokers could go outside twice a day for an extra break. I asked if I (non smoker) could have an extra tea break instead and was told no because I didn't smoke. I should have asked if I took up smoking then I be able to have the break?

TigerseyeMum Fri 06-Sep-13 18:54:00

My friend took up smoking in one job because it was the only time he was allowed to go outside for a break. Almost 20 years later, he's still smoking...

Panzee Fri 06-Sep-13 18:55:06

I used to work somewhere where we all go 10 mins in the morning and 10 in the afternoon, whether we smoked or not. Everyone seemed happy with that. Most of the non smokers didn't bother but they knew they could if they wanted.

maddening Fri 06-Sep-13 18:57:09

Where I used to work you could only smoke on your breaks - don't see why any smoking should come out of work time at all!

maddening Fri 06-Sep-13 19:00:32

Ps there are other ways of getting the nicotine into your system to feed the addiction - having extra breaks to smoke is not necessary at all.

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