The Cost of Smoking

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Everyone sees you as a risk, expense, or questionably productive.

It’s no secret that insurance rates are lower for non-smokers. In 1983 health-care coverage was modestly estimated at $300 less per year less for those who opted for the hale and hearty route not to light up. Some insurance companies even offer up to a 45% discount on term-life coverage premiums too. Many American citizens receive insurance coverage from their employers and these companies have begun to notice this and several other ways that smokers are costing them big bucks each year.

The health-care cost is an obvious elevated expense but who would have thought that smokers could have a negative impact on workplace morale also? On average, smokers miss about 50% more work than nonsmokers, leaving the healthy workers to pick up their slack. The Dow Chemical Company found that, in 1974, smokers were absent 5.5 days more per year. Not only did this mean that temporary replacements were needed on these days but productivity shows a decline as well.

Apart from absenteeism effecting productivity in the workplace, smoke breaks have a negative impact on this aspect as well. To prevent their other employees form suffering the consequences of the smoking public, most offices require their employees to head outside to indulge themselves. This places them away from their workspace for 10-20 minutes multiple times per day. These employees also have an increase in errors and inefficiency as compared to their healthier non-smoking counter-parts.

A cost many don’t take into consideration when looking at smokers’ effect on the workplace is maintenance. Employers that have banned smoking have reported a massive decrease in the cost of maintaining their workspace. Less cleaning is required as a whole, such as walls and windows being washed, but furniture lasts longer too. Drapes and such don’t need to be cleaned nearly as often either. Cleaning that was required to be done at least monthly, after asking smokers to leave the building, could be scheduled for once to twice a year instead.

Regardless of skill level, smokers consistently have a negative impact on the bottom line when it comes to business. Smokers are like a ripple in the water of a company, affecting more things than they probably considered before stepping outside for their smoke break.

This is a harsh read for a smoker, but it’s honest. Changing to a smokeless alternative can help get you going on the right track.

This is a reprint from 2010.

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