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Employees Who Smoke Cost Companies an Extra $6,000 Each Per Year

Update Date: Jun 04, 2013 09:39 AM EDT
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Due to several campaigns and research studies, people have been repeatedly informed that smoking is bad. Not only is smoking detrimental to the overall health of the smoker, it also affects the people nearby who inhale the smoke accidentally. Now, according to a new study, smoking can also harm another group of people in a different way. Researchers suggest that every smoker is costing his/her company an extra $6000 per year in the United States.

According to the researchers headed by Micah Berman, who will be an assistant professor of health services management and policy in The Ohio State University of College of Public Health, this is the first ever comprehensive study to analyze the financial situation of companies when it comes to employees who smoke. The researchers used data from other research studies that analyzed the costs of absenteeism and a loss of productivity due to smoke breaks and health care costs. The researchers stated that smoke breaks were the leading cause of productivity lost.

The researchers estimated that for each employee that smokes, the company lost an average of $5,816 per year. The range of the losses was from $2,885 to $10,125. Although the research team used data from private companies, they believe that the numbers would be almost the same under public establishments as well.

"This research should help businesses make better informed decisions about their tobacco policies," Berman said reported by Medical Xpress. "We constructed our calculations such that individual employers can plug in their own expense to get more accurate estimates of their own costs."

Although the researchers hope that their findings could help companies find better policies, they also acknowledged the fact that these policies and programs will cost money. On top of that, companies must be understanding because smoking is hard to quit and quitting will take some time.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) state that smoking is responsible for one out of every five deaths. This is equivalent to around 443,000 deaths a year in the United States.

The study was published in the journal, Tobacco Control.

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