Smokers cost employers an average of $5,800 a year

YUS-businesses-pay-about-6000-extra-for-workers-who-smokeoiks, I can only imagine the comments at the old Smokers’ Club (I haven’t a clue if that is even around anymore. It’s been years since I looked.) on this story!

According to an Ohio State University researcher — between absenteeism caused by added health problems and lost productivity due to smoking breaks, smokers cost companies on the average of $5,800 a year and possibly up to $10,000 a year.

Let me do some math on that smoking break thing. Say a smoker, not too heavy of a smoker, takes four smoking breaks during an eight-hour shift. Say each break takes 10 minutes. That’s 40 minutes a day in lost productivity. That’s 200 minutes a week. That’s 10,000 minutes a year.

10,000 minutes = 160 hours a year. Say a smoker makes a relatively modest wage, $15 an hour, that comes up to $2,400 a year in lost productivity in of itself.

Here’s the OSU numbers. Pretty close to what I did in my head:

The OSU researchers’ calculations show low productivity due to excess absenteeism costs employers, on average, $517 a year per smoking employee and working while sick cost $462. Smoking breaks tack on $3,077 and excess healthcare another $2,056.

There is a LOT of data showing smokers increase everyone’s insurance premiums, which is why many employers now add a premiums surcharge for smokers and some companies won’t hire smokers, period. So, I think that $5,800 a year number, while it sounds surprising, is totally plausible.

The study was published in Tobacco Control.

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This entry was posted in smoking, Uncategorized, Workplace smoking and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Smokers cost employers an average of $5,800 a year

  1. Some employers limit smoking breaks. They ask that smokers take no more than 5 or 10 minutes and limit them to 3 to 5 times a day. That’s not unreasonable, considering that it amounts to 15 to 50 minutes a day of unproductive time. Meanwhile, non-smokers are putting in productive time.

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