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Well at Work

$6,000 a Year: The Cost of Employing a Smoker


Got an extra six grand? That’s the additional annual cost, on average, a company has to cover in order to hire a smoker over a nonsmoker, according to a new study out of Ohio State University.

That figure takes into account absenteeism, lost productivity, smoke breaks, and healthcare costs. Not surprisingly, smoke breaks accounted for the highest cost in lost productivity, followed by health-care expenses that exceed insurance costs for nonsmokers.

“This research should help businesses make better informed decisions about their tobacco policies,” said the lead study author in a press release. “Employers should be understanding about how difficult it is to quit smoking and how much support is needed. It’s definitely not just a cost issue, but employers should be informed about what the costs are when they are considering these policies.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says smoking accounts for nearly one in every five deaths—or about 443,000—in the United States each year and increases the risk for such illnesses as coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and other deadly lung illnesses.

If you need help quitting nicotine, you can receive free resources and assistance by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Tags: Health, Work