Employers and employees may perceive smoking as a personal action that doesn’t affect the ability of employees to contribute their best work to their employers’ profitability, but, as a group, smokers inadvertently cost U.S. employers an extra $5,816 per year due to more smoke breaks, health care costs, absenteeism, and lost productivity at work.
- An extra $3,077 annually for smoke breaks. Smokers take five breaks on average as compared to the typical three.
- $2,056 in extra health care expenses. Smokers typically have more health problems such as heart or lung disease, and cancers.
- $683 due to increased absenteeism and reduced productivity, likely due to withdrawal symptoms. Smokers miss an average of two and a half extra work days per year.
The nicotine in tobacco products is a powerfully addictive drug, as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. Sources cite it as one of the hardest addictions to treat. AlterNet lists it as #3 in its top ten list of worst addictions. The research for this ranking system was conducted in London, 2007 by David Nutt et al. and published in this paper. The ranking system was then developed by a Dutch team, as seen in this paper by van Amsterdam J. et al.
In fact, cigarettes are becoming even more addictive according to a 2014 study. Tobacco companies have changed the design of their cigarettes to make them more efficient at delivering nicotine to the brain. Fewer cigarettes will give people the same amount of nicotine, so someone intending to cut down on cigarettes may not actually be cutting down on nicotine. Specifically, the amount of nicotine a person gets from a cigarette increased by 15 percent.
The latest research on smoking offers a breath of fresh hope for employers and employees. [Read more…]