Monday, October 7, 2013

Employees Who Smoke Cost $278 Billion a Year

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.

2 comments:

shreya Grass said...

Hi Fiona, this post make me an open eye reading the cost because of smoking. I personally appeal to everyone to quit smoking from today as it is real culprit.

Sandy Hu said...

I agree with having smokers be charged more for the healthcare versus someone who suffered a car accident multiple times. I think employers need to be strict regarding smokers, because people who care about their career will even quit smoking just to have it. I know of a lot of employers that have multiple things where they can help for smokers to quit. I also know of employers we restrict their employers to smoke on grounds or represent the company as a smoker. I think companies who care about these things, aren’t just looking out for themselves but are also looking out for the health of their employees.