Each Smoker Costs Their Employer $US5,800 A Year

American firms should be celebrating CVS’ announcement this morning that they’ll stop selling cigarettes.

That’s because according to a 2013 Ohio State University study, workers who smoke each cost their employers $US5,800 a year, and can range from $2,885 to $US10,125 annually.

The biggest costs came productivity lost to smoking breaks, followed by health care expenses in excess of what nonsmokers end up paying.

“We tried to be conservative in our estimates, and certainly the costs will vary by industry and by the type of employee,” co-author Micah Berman said in OSU’s release on the study. “Several of these estimates are based on hourly employees whose productivity can be tracked more easily.”

The authors also took into account a socioeconomic bias: smokers’ salaries were discounted by 15.6% to reflect their tendency to have lower wages than non-smokers.

Here’s the full breakdown of costs:

  • Smoke breaks: $US3,077
  • Extra health car costs for self-insured employers: $US2,056
  • Excess absenteeism $US517
  • Reduced productivity as a result of nicotine addiction: $US462

The morbid “benefit” from employing a smoker is that they die earlier and therefore are owed less in retirement, thereby offsetting some of the firm’s overall costs — but only by $US296.

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