Smokers: You Cost Your Boss an Extra $6K a Year

Study is first comprehensive look at the costs
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2013 9:24 AM CDT
Smokers: You Cost Your Boss an Extra $6K a Year

As more employers decide not to hire smokers, a new study underscores why: Puffers cost employers $5,816 more per year than non-smoking employees. The author, an expert in public health law, teamed up with economists and dug into the topic after realizing there "wasn’t any really good study out there." NBC News shares the findings, which resulted from aggregating other studies to arrive at the final number—and included one morbid adjustment. The researchers took into account the fact employers might save on pension costs since smokers typically die younger.

  • Smokers who take 8 minutes' worth of smoke breaks per day cost their employers $1,641 per year in lost productivity. (And that's likely overly conservative; two 15-minute smoke breaks clock in at $3,077.)
  • Thanks to higher rates of myriad diseases, healthcare costs an extra $2,055 per smoker.
  • Even when smokers aren't on an actual break, researchers say they experience productivity loss due to the withdrawal symptoms that kick in after each cigarette. Estimated cost: $461 per year; add in another $517 for increased absences.
  • Notes the author: "Employers try to correct for the idea that smokers cost more by paying them somewhat less. Even when we adjusted for that—smokers still cost more."
(More smokers stories.)

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