Smoking Costs Companies

Smokers take more sick days than non smokers

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Quitting smoking doesn’t just save lives; it saves money for employees and employers. This is yet another reason to quit smoking today.

A recent study looked at 50 years of tobacco studies from all over the world. Analysis showed smokers took an average of 2.7 more sick days than non-smokers.

“Quitting smoking appears to reduce absenteeism and result in substantial cost savings for employers,” said the lead author.

"Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW."

Jo Leonardi-Bee, PhD, associate professor, and Stephen Weng, PhD student, at the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies in the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Nottingham, worked together on a study that examined the loss of work productivity from smoking.

For the study, researchers looked at 71,516 workers from 29 long-term studies spanning 1960-2011. The studies took place in the US, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Results showed current smokers had a 33 percent increased risk of absenteeism, with 2.74 more sick days, than non-smokers.

Compared to ex-smokers, never-smokers had 14 percent less absenteeism and current smokers had 19 percent more absenteeism.

Absenteeism refers to missing time from work.

Researchers calculated the financial loss of worker absenteeism due to smoking at £1.4 billion, which is around $2.25 billion, in 2011 alone. Authors concluded, “Quitting smoking appears to reduce absenteeism and result in substantial cost-savings for employers.”

Authors recommended further study to pinpoint which smoking cessation interventions would be cost effective for employers to use in the workplace.

This study was published in November in Addiction. Funding was supported by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies. No conflicts of interest were reported. 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 8, 2013
Last Updated:
August 19, 2013