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If your employees are smoking, you’re paying dearly

Original content from http://safety.blr.com

If you’ve been considering banning smoking at your workplace, there’s new information about the money you might save. Although some states and municipalities have banned smoking in many public and private places, there’s still plenty of puffing out there.

A new study finds that U.S. businesses pay about $6,000 extra per year for each employee who smokes, compared to the cost of employing someone who has never smoked cigarettes. The findings were published online in the journal Tobacco Control.

Lead author Professor Micah Berman of Ohio State University said smoke breaks accounted for the highest cost in lost productivity, followed by healthcare expenses that exceed insurance costs for nonsmokers.

He urged employers to acknowledge that quitting is tough and to assist 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 can align.” Berman adds that as well as reducing costs, employers can help their workers lead healthier and longer lives by banning smoking on the job.

He hopes the new research can help businesses make informed decisions about their tobacco policies.