18 Jul Healthcare Costs Rise from Smoking Population

Companies Pay Almost $6,000 Extra Per Year for Smokers

new study from The Ohio State University estimates that U.S. employers pay almost $6,000 per year per smoking employee above the cost of a person who never smokes.

This study was an attempt to focus solely on the economics of smoking, and the researchers involved obtained their figures by compiling multiple studies that calculated a variety of specific costs to develop an estimate of the overall annual extra cost per smoking employee.

According to the study by Ohio State, the $5,816 average cost per smoker is the sum of the following costs:

  • Excess absenteeism – $517/year
  • Presenteeism (although present on the job, there is a loss of productivity resulting from the employee’s medical issues) – $462/year
  • Smoke breaks – $3,077/year
  • Health care costs (for self-insured employers) – $2,056/year

The lead author on the study, Micah Berman, seems to recognize the potential for good employer-sponsored wellness programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use, stating that: “This is a place where business interests and public health align. In addition to cutting costs, [by making cessation programs available to their employees,] employers can help their employees lead healthier and longer lives by eliminating tobacco from the workplace.”

The research is published online in the journal Tobacco Control.


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