06 June 2013

How much are smokers today?

Smokers are expensive

Nika Kotova, <url>While the residents of Russia are getting used to the anti-smoking law, scientists are bringing the economic base under the fight against smoking.

They calculated the damage caused by smoking to the health of smoking employees and assessed how this damage affects the employer's expenses.

Smoking employees cost a private employer an average of $5,816 more per year than non-smokers, a group of researchers from the Ohio State University College of Public Health and College of Law calculated, publishing the results of their work in the journal Tobacco Control (Berman et al., Estimating the cost of a smoking employee).

Such a decent amount consists of several factors: loss of time for smoke breaks, reduced productivity, high cost of medical care and absenteeism due to illness.

Smoking increases the risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and lungs. Among the adult population of the United States, about 19% smoke. It has already been shown that employee smoking reduces labor productivity and increases the cost of medical care. For example, a recent study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that each smoker costs the country $3,400 a year. But at the same time, it was not calculated what share of the burden of expenses the employer bears. Now this question has been answered.

The study was conducted in the context of the fact that some companies in the United States began to deprive smokers of health insurance, while others decided to hire only non-smokers. Some other companies have decided that they will not renew the contract with smokers if they do not quit smoking within a certain time.

The authors of the work estimated that due to absenteeism of a smoker due to illness, the employer loses $517 per year, the decrease in labor productivity due to nicotine addiction is $462 per smoker, smoke breaks cost $3077, and additional medical costs - $2056.

But there are also savings. Since smokers on average die earlier than non-smokers, the pension for the former costs an average of $296 less than for the latter. After deducting this amount, the researchers calculated, one smoker costs the employer an additional $5816 per year compared to a non-smoking employee. This figure ranges from $2,885 to $10,125, depending on the company's field of activity.

The authors believe that their calculations will serve as a guideline for the personnel policy of companies and the work of tobacco regulatory authorities. The analysis was conducted for employers in the private sector, but the results can be extended to the public sector, according to the head of the study, Micah Berman, an associate professor at Ohio State University in the field of health.

"At the same time, it is important to realize that the cost of smoking is not just financial costs," experts emphasize. – It is impossible to estimate human life and health in dollars. The desire to help everyone live a long and healthy life should encourage employers to limit smoking among their employees. In this matter, the interests of healthcare and business coincide."

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru06.06.2013

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