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Employees Who Smoke Cost $278 Billion a Year

Posted Oct 07 2013 12:00am
Everyone knows that smoking is outrageously bad for your health. But it's also bad for employers, according to a recent survey by Gallup :

  • Smokers miss 2.5 more workdays than their non-smoking counterparts, at a cost of approximately $341 per workday missed.
  • Smoke breaks cost the equivalent of nine missed workdays annually.
  • Healthcare for smokers costs approximately $2,056 more than for non-smokers.

Gallup controlled for a number of factors that can correlate with poor health -- age, gender, income, region of the country, and more. So we can be reasonably certain that smoking is the culprit.

The Affordable Care Act allows employers to adjust health insurance premiums by as much as 50% for smokers. Some employers are even refusing to hire smokers altogether . I think the best approach is somewhere in between.

Kicking the habit isn't easy, but as an employer, you can help. We recommend offering a variety of smoking cessation options, a robust incentive -- and an attitude of support.
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