The Ill Effects of Smoking
The World Health Organization estimates one billion deaths worldwide in 2010 owing to smoking-related causes. Almost 20 percent of all Americans smoke and about 480,000 Americans die every year due to smoking, making it a big national concern.
The ill effects of smoking permeate to the workplace. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the employer bears a cost of $3,391 per smoking employee per year, including $1,760 in lost productivity and $1,623 in excess medical expenditures. Smoking employees miss an average of 6.16 days of work owing to sickness compared to non-smoking employees, and employees who take ten four minute smoking breaks a day actually works one month less a year than nonsmoking employees do.
Not only does smoking harm the smoker, the smoke harms coworkers who inhale it. Estimated costs associated with secondhand smoke’s effects on nonsmokers can add up to $490 per smoker per year. The American Lung Association finds that second-hand smoke costs employers around $5 billion in indirect costs such as workers claiming unemployment or disability due to the smoke.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development calculate that construction and maintenance costs are 7 percent higher in buildings that allow smoking than in buildings that are smoke-free, and The US Environment Protection Agency estimates that employers could save anywhere between $4 to $8 billion in building operations and maintenance costs if they implement comprehensive smoke-free indoor air policies.
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