Tag Archives: workplace smoking

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


Yoiks, 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.