6/4/2013 8:31 PM ET|
Hiring a smoker costs bosses $6,000 a year
A new study says employee tobacco use can lead to absenteeism, lost productivity, smoking breaks and health care expenditures.
Now a new study has broken down the yearly costs associated with hiring a smoker compared with a nonsmoker. According to researchers at Ohio State University, U.S. businesses pay an additional $6,000 or so annually per smoker due to factors like absenteeism, lost productivity, smoking breaks and health care costs.
Smoking breaks are reportedly the biggest cost, accounting for nearly $3,100 per employee annually.
"When people are taking smoke breaks, that actually adds up to a decent amount of cost to the employer," Micah Berman, the study's lead author and an assistant professor of health services management and public policy, told The Columbus Dispatch.
And there are also on-the-job costs. "Even if (smokers) are at work, they're essentially going through nicotine withdrawal," Berman said. "It actually causes a measurable reduction in productivity."
The study's press statement says the research focuses solely on economics -- and doesn't look at any ethical and privacy issues related to workplace smoking policies.
But it also notes more businesses are adopting "tobacco-related policies that include requiring smokers to pay premium surcharges for their health-care benefits or simply refusing to hire people who identify themselves as smokers."
One such company, Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG), doesn't hire smokers in Ohio -- and company spokesman Lance Latham says the number of its smoking employees has dropped from 30% to around 5% since the ban went in place.
"Overall, our health care cost increases and premium increases have trended below the national average," Latham said in an interview with The Columbus Dispatch. "We think that’s a combination of our tobacco and wellness policies."
At the same time, the researchers acknowledge that providing smoking-cessation programs can amount to an additional cost for employers.
"Employers should be understanding about how difficult it is to quit smoking and how much support is needed," Berman said. "It’s definitely not just a cost issue, but employers should be informed about what the costs are when they are considering these policies."
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What does it matter if you smoke on your already alloted breaks? A break is a break if you smoke on it or not and you are required by law to get a certain amount of breaks per day. So I don't see where lost productivity comes into play on this. With that being said smoking is not a good thing to do.
As others have already pointed out, this "study" is based on... what? Facts? Who's facts? Who's numbers? Based on what salary? Somebody that works at Wal-Mart making $7/hour working 20 hours a week (so they can keep them on Medicaid and not pay benefits) "costs" Wal-Mart $6,000 a year (or about 82% of their annual gross salary)?
Do the constant trips to the bathroom from the "healthy" employee that drinks a gallon of water a day while sitting at their desk have a cost? How about the incessant coffee drinker? How about those that sit at their computer reading reading msn rather than working?
I'm an EX smoker, so it is not like I am defending MY ability to smoke, since I no longer do, but this is nothing short of silly. Don't hire married people because they have families and that insurance costs more than individual, especially if they might start a family... do you know what a birth costs these days? And they won't work all night for free anymore because they will want to see their kids. Don't hire people who drink coffee, or even water to a point that they have to use the rest room during the day. There are already some that try to avoid people with weight issues because the also "are more likely to take a day off" (I would love to know where they come up with this "numbers").
Everything is a game and a "cost" In the "good old days" employees were considered a company's most valuable asset, today they are viewed as nothing but "cost centers" and are viewed no better than a computer that you toss out and replace periodically to get the "best bang for your buck" (read: cost the least, nobody want to pay for intelligence or experience).
As far as the cost of smoke breaks are concerned I would like to see some support for those numbers. Those workers who are hourly would have to clock out to take their break and for those who are salaried I don't hear the employers complaining about the extra hours they get "free" from their employee. Also, smoke breaks would probably be shorter if the employee didn't have to Walk a mile and a half from the building before they can light up.
Just my opinion. It seems like employers and insurance companies are trying to charge extra for everything... you smoke, you're fat, you drink too much caffeine, you own a gun, you have poor credit, etc, etc
This is merely a story consisting of "Telling companies what they want to hear". What's That? Numbers too high this year? IT MUST BE THE SMOKERS!"
While you are at it, please start checking for any trace amounts of alcohol in everyone's system on a daily basis. Even slight hangovers will affect productivity and cost the company $$$$! Also, any prescribed medications that may cause the employee to perform at a lesser rate. Can you see how this opens the door for privacy issues?
Corporations, STOP BUYING THIS GARBAGE! You are alienating very talented people simply because some faux study tells you to? The companies that choose to embrace their employees instead of demonizing them will be the ones who succeed!
quadruple that for people with kids.... just saying..... what's next,,, people with medical issues? mental issues? too fat, too skinny....
It all depends on the individual. If a guy takes long breaks weather he smokes or not, yes he will cost the company less productivity and more costs. It is possible that some smokers take maybe a few more breaks than others. BUT, SMOKING IS A STIMULANT. It increases your heart rate. Similar to coffee and probably would improve production and give the employer better production than he would if he didn't have that smoke. So stop harping on us smokers and imposing what you think is right for us. Why don't you worry about yourself for a change.
I am a smoker.
I have worked for the same company for 30 years. I think at least in my case I have had fewer days off (I went 28 years before having a sick day) than my co-workers and any break time (for smoking) I more than make up for by coming in early and leaving late.
I think in my case my employer would argue with these results.
What the hell is good for us this day and age? Not a damn thing according to what you hear and see on TV or the internet, the medications they promote all have a list of at list ten or so negative side effects. we're not suppose to eat meat, or dairy products, or veggies, as they're full of pesticides, the air we breath is poluted, and the water. About the only thing that is safe in this day and age is the grave. Wait a minute, sorry that isn't safe either due to grave robbers, wanting to resale funeral plots. throwing the bodies into a mass grave sight.
The writer and editors ignorance is amazing...Not only ignorant, but you just misplaced huge amount of workers by talking right out your A$$... Where you got your facts is beyond me and it is all BS...The # 1 cause of Cancer - Factory Effluent, #2 - Car Exhaust, #3 Tobacco. #1 supporter to non smoking non profits - Car Companies and Manufacturing Companies...I am so disgusted with this type of hype and MSNs writers and editors that it might be time to switch to Yahoo or some other programming...
Here is my problem with these issues about smokers. I have worked in the same job for 13 years. During this time 8 people have have been sick for months and two for a couple of years and THEY WERE NOT SMOKERS.
I know two of the cancer patients had bills well over 1 million dollars and that is with good insurance. Cnancer and diabetis cause buisnesses incredible amounts of money and our insurance coverage goes up and bennifits go down to make up for these losses. Remember to that most companies insure families and most of the serious medical issues we dont even know about which cause employers time and money and dealing with their workers time off with FMLA requirments that allow for 12 weeks off even for a male whose wife had the baby.
Smokers are an easy target but I say this also, I will smoke my cig and get in my car and drive home with no one in danger, You drinking anti smokers are a danger to your employers and society.
the definitive answer to this debate,......
In general, all these tards saying keep your stinky cigs at home etc. are not Americans. This country is about choice. By banning cigs you limit my choice. You not liking the smell or "potential" side effects DOES NOT limit YOUR choice to patronize an establishment in general. SO who are the people on the wrong side of this debate? The people going against the founding principles of this country ( remember the boston tea party??) OR the smoker trying to defend their RIGHTS as Americans to make CHOICES (even if others dont like them). Non-smokers would not like it if people told them they CAN NOT wear red because its offensive to SOME peoples eyes, right? People wake up put your PERSONAL preferences aside and see that your (yes ALL of you) rights are being taken away slowly one at a time. They are starting on the ones that have the least resistance (ie smoker vs non-smoker, abortion vs pro-life, etc) so they dont fight a UNIFIED nation telling them NO to limiting ANY rights that were granted by the founding of this country.
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