A smoker costs a private employer in the United States an extra $5,816 per year compared with a nonsmoker, according to an analysis of data collected from earlier studies on the costs of smoking.

Researchers at The Ohio State University estimated that the largest cost, at $3,077 annually, came from taking smoking breaks. Smokers took, on average, about five breaks a day, compared with the three breaks typically sanctioned for most workers.

The second largest cost, at $2,056, was related to excess health care expenses. Smokers typically have more health problems than nonsmokers, including heart and lung disease and various cancers.

The remaining costs came from increased absenteeism — the researchers found that smokers miss about two-and-a-half extra workdays each year — and lost productivity at work, perhaps because of nicotine’s withdrawal effects. The findings appeared online in June in the journal Tobacco Control.

“We certainly encourage businesses to provide smoking cessation programs. At least for large companies, it’s highly likely to save them money over time,” said Micah Berman, an assistant professor of public health and law at Ohio State and lead author of the analysis.

That’s only direct costs. Secondhand, thirdhand smoke aren’t factored in.

  1. Greg Allen says:

    Are smoking breaks non-productive?

    I’m not a smoker but I believe in collaboration and networking.

    I’ve been to many a conference where the most valuable things happened during the coffee breaks.

    • Lesley says:

      It’s all a numbers game. A theory has been put out there prompting the insurance bean counters to assimilate the numbers and BAM! The rates go up. Is smoking healthy, hell no! But are the statisics skewed, hell YES!

  2. AdmFubar says:

    you sure you dont mean “coughing breaks””???

    nothing like bonding with your fellow employees like hoarfing up a lung together!

  3. Phiend says:

    Disclaimer I am a smoker

    Haters need something to hate. Why not put a $ amount on it, give them more fuel. I would like to think we are still free “tho i know different”. I respect the rules and other people, but that is not enough is it. We already have to leave the property to smoke at most places. And now some towns are trying to ban smoking out side on main st. This is about control, Sheepeople, nothing else. ITS MY BODY LET ME DO WHAT I WANT TO IT.

  4. Peachy says:

    When we finally get a Twinkie Tax that is similar to the taxes placed on cigarettes then I’ll see it as accurate. Where’s the study on how much obesity has cost businesses? Oh right…there isn’t one.

    • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

      How would the accuracy of the identified element be affected by the presence or absence of another unrelated factor?

      You really don’t make any sense at all.

  5. Mextli says:

    How much housing do you see built along an expressway with traffic spewing carcinogens 24 x 7? I have yet to see anyone bitch about that but don’t light up a smoke in the middle of Central Park.

    • Freemantle A. Silverboard says:

      EPA clean air and emmision regulations ring a bell?

  6. HMeyers says:

    I want to see the numbers of how much fat people are costing me a year by Obama forcing me to buy their health care.

    *Scooter carts at the grocery stores increase the price of groceries for everyone.
    *I have to pay more in taxes.
    *They bitch when Michael Bloomberg says “Gee, how about only having the 16 oz cup of carbonated sugar water?”
    * Many of them go on disability.
    * I have to park in the back because these people that blow their knees our get all the front parking spaces.

    • Ken says:

      Runners and bicyclists are even more likely to blow their knees and run up huge orthopedic surgery and rehabilitative costs.

      King Bloomberg didn’t just say “how about having a 16oz soda”, he mandated it for all of the sheep. How much does having rulers cost us?

  7. Ken says:

    Did they actually compare productivity of smokers versus non-smokers, or did they just assume an average and subtract the time spent smoking/absent from the smokers?

    • Mextli says:

      Here is part of it.

      “Researchers at The Ohio State University estimated guess that the largest cost, at $3,077 annually, came from taking smoking breaks.”

  8. dusanmal says:

    All these stories about “this and that” costing business, city, state, society,… so much are fundamentally bogus. Assumptions are made and a further guestimate slaps a dollar value to it while ignoring that all this is just a normal part of life.

  9. MikeN says:

    Why are smokers always being singled out for hatred? How about we just call it a handicap, and include them under Disabilites Act? How much are those workers costing businesses? How about gays with higher risk of AIDS? Drug users?

    And the number one cost for businesses is undoubtedly gamblers.

    • Mextli says:

      Social engineering. Some folks just can’t control the urge to play “The Sims” for real, see Michael Rubens Bloomberg.

  10. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

    Everything is connected to everything else.

    Ain’t reality a bitch?

  11. deowll says:

    My uncle smoked. I doubt if it cost his employer a penny. He didn’t miss work and he was killed while still fairly vigorous by a semi on the way home from work. Driver had been using uppers to keep going and didn’t stay on his side of the road in a curve. The fact that Unc was driving a big v-8 truck didn’t help a bit. The engine block ended up in his lap.

  12. The Pirate says:

    Future studies will show that present studies are biased.

  13. ECA says:

    It cost more because the INSURANCE company needs a reason to OVER CHARGE..

    Smokers die Earlier and quicker then person with diabetes, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and MANY other conditions..

    Sign up with a company and DECLARE you have a MEDICAL CONDITION, when you start…
    1. probably wont get hired as it raises the COST of your insurance.
    2. it dont matter if it does not affect performance, Ins. will raise the COST.

    This is Bogus.

  14. ECA says:


    is the DIRECT LINK…(as discussed in NA, about direct linking..)

    and I CALL BS.

    “We certainly encourage businesses to provide smoking cessation programs. At least for large companies, it’s highly likely to save them money over time,”

    An ANTI SMOKING site suggesting you install cessation programs that would cost as much as a smoker MAY loose them in money per year??

  15. Captain Obvious says:

    You mean there are employers who PAY for this? Perish the thought!

    Those lousy no good smokers. Not following the liberal/communist doctrine set forth by our so called “efficiency experts” to always be productive. Don’t focus on the JOB! Work worker, work! (Insert whipping sound here.) Next, there will be a group of ingrates who want to cost companies even more money to put ramps up stair cases or install elevators or even make doorways wider. Damned fat people. How can we live with these expensive costs to society? OH NO!

    Seriously. What people do on their own time is their own damned business! As long as whatever someone does isn’t harming anyone else, whatever someone does during break time to smoke or jack off or whatever is no different in terms of cost than to provide handicap access. It’s called, THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS!!!

    But then, freedom and capitalism are things that left wing nuts have no concept – or tolerance – for. Just watch! I bet some mind washed liberal wants to tell us how smoking is bad for our health and therefore how it’s also a good idea to segregate and possibly even tax them (us) even MORE! And despite the fact that smokers already pay higher health care premiums too.

    Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me that a bunch of liberal idiots at some upper educational institute like Ohio State decided to cost the taxpayers money to conduct this study. Don’t forget, Ohio State, like any “state” college is partly funded by state tax dollars – hence, the word “state”.

    And no. I don’t smoke. I don’t even drink alcohol. But as long as I don’t have to breathe in the deadly fumes of those who do smoke, I do support any smoker who may simply be trying to indulge in self euthanasia!

  16. zephvark says:

    The main cost and one of the side costs attributed to smoking were actually costs of requiring people not to smoke indoors. Haven’t we seen enough of that crap in anti-drug ads? These are not costs of smokers, they’re costs of anti-smoking campaigns.

  17. R Sweeney says:

    The two minute hate is a requirement.

    Smokers, the obese, Monsanto, Limbaugh, The Koch brothers, Christians, circus clowns… the progressive hate list is literally endless.


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