A new study suggests that U.S. businesses pay almost $6,000 per year extra for each employee who smokes, compared to an employee which doesn’t smoke. Researchers claim this is the first study to focus on the cost of employing smokers vs non-smokers.

So why does this happen? By drawing data from previous researches, focusing on absenteeism, lost productivity, smoke breaks and health care costs, the researchers developed an estimate of how much all these factors cost, on average, per employee.

The analysis only focused on the private sector, but the odds are it works just as good (and even probably better) with the public sector.

“This research should help businesses make better informed decisions about their tobacco policies,” said Berman, who also will have an appointment in the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State. “We constructed our calculations such that individual employers can plug in their own expenses to get more accurate estimates of their own costs.”

“Most of the places that have policies against hiring smokers are coming at it not just from a cost perspective but from a wellness perspective,” Berman said. “Many of these businesses make cessation programs available to their employees. Most people who smoke started when they were kids and the vast majority of them want to quit and are struggling to do so. This is a place where business interests and public health align. In addition to cutting costs, employers can help their employees lead healthier and longer lives by eliminating tobacco from the workplace.”

So maybe ‘non-smoker’ is something you want to start adding on your CV.

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