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  • Latest scientific study: employing a smoker will cost you R56 000 a year
    Posted by on Jun 5th, 2013

    Ya hey…we all know that smoking is bad for you and the anti-smoking brigade is constantly trying to stomp out those that choose to suck on cigarrettes. Can’t smoke in restaurants, can’t smoke on public transport, can’t smoke near kids…blah blah blah. Health risks aside though it is a known fact that employees who smoke cost their company in terms of work lost because of smoking. How much exactly is unclear, but the latest research published a few days ago narrowed it own and put the cost of an employee who smokes at R56 000 a year. And that was a conservative estimate based on five 15-minute smoke breaks in an eight-hour workday.

    The results of the study was published on June 3 in the journal for Tobacco Control by the College of Public Health & Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.

    The cost of work lost purely based on smoke breaks was estimated at around R30 000 while the rest of the total comes from more sick days due to health problems and withdrawl symptoms.

    While its’s illegal in about half of the US states to discriminate against smokers during the hiring process, the cost of employee who smokes is high enough for some US companies refusing to hire people who smoke.

    “The researchers reviewed and analysed previous studies on the subject to estimate certain discrete costs associated with smoking employees.

    They then developed a cost estimation approach that approximates the total of such costs for US employers and examined absenteeism, presenteesim (lower productivity while working because of nicotine addiction), smoking breaks, healthcare costs and pension benefits for smokers.

    Calculations showed that low productivity due to excess absenteeism costs employers, on average, $517 (£344) a year per smoking employee; presenteeism cost $462 (£307); smoking breaks cost$3,077 (£2,045); and excess healthcare cost $2,056 (£1,367).

    In addition, because smokers tend to die at a younger age than non-smokers, annual pension costs were an average of $296 (£195) less for an employee who smoked. The total estimated additional cost to the employer came to $5,816 (£3,865) per year.

    The researchers concluded: “Employees who smoke impose significant excess costs on private employers. The results of this study may help inform employer decisions about tobacco related policies” [Tobacco Control]

    Not sure if anyone in South Africa has done a similar study, but i’m guessing the result is similar hey.

    Punk says:
    June 06, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Many people take 15 minute breaks by their computers not doing anything. I agree with the medical part of this survey but smokers are singled out in this case cause one can actually calculate their breaks. This coming from a non smoker. I wasted 30 minutes reading blogs when I came across this article…

    bobby says:
    June 06, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Has the study taken into account the difference in cos between an employee who makes 5k a month versus someone who earns 50k… Surely the cost of break would be vastly different…?

    Marianne says:
    June 06, 2013 at 10:42 am

    A lot of business gets discussed outside while smoking and in my opinion, those that smoke actually work harder. Would rather see money spent on crime then and trying to get people to stop smoking grrrrrrrrrrrr

    bobby says:
    June 06, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Has the study taken into account the difference in cost between an employee who makes 5k a month versus someone who earns 50k… Surely the cost of break would be vastly different…?

    June 06, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Well, judging from the comments a lot of people seem to disagree with this. But I don’t think anyone can dispute that regular smoke breaks decrease productivity. Sure, non-smokers might spend time reading blogs online instead of working, but I bet that smokers read blogs instead of working AND take smoke breaks. And, obviously, the health implications are hard to dismiss as well.
    – @CustardCheeks

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