Every Employee Who Smokes Costs Employer an Extra $6,000

Wednesday, June 05, 2013
(photo: AP)

Employers are increasingly looking down on workers who smoke, due to the added costs they bring to the job.


A new study shows each smoker costs nearly $6,000 more per year than non-smokers at work places.


Micah Berman, the study’s lead author at the College of Public Health and Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, told Agence France-Presse that the “annual excess cost to employ a smoker is $5,816.”


The total includes the cost of sick leave, lower productivity because of smoking breaks, and additional healthcare costs. It also factors in lower pension costs derived from smokers, who tend to die at younger ages than non-smokers.


With these expenses in mind, some employers have begun charging smokers higher premiums for health insurance and even refusing to employ people who smoke, or fire those who refuse to quit their habit.


Currently, about four out of 10 employers in the U.S. reward or penalize employees based on tobacco use.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Hiring a Smoker Costs U.S. Firms $6,000 a Head (Agence France-Presse)

Estimating the Cost of a Smoking Employee (by Micah Berman, Rob Crane, Eric Seiber, and Mehmet Munur; Tobacco Control) (abstract)

Warning: Smoking Is Hazardous to Your Employment (by Leslie Kwoh, Wall Street Journal)

Is Smoking Good for the Nation’s Economy? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)         


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