Weis, Kristein and others have found that smoking activity by employees increases costs in many areas.
Some of these areas are:
Absenteeism: On average, smokers are absent 50 percent more often
than nonsmokers. As long ago as 1974, Dow Chemical Company found that cigarette smoking employees were missing 5.5 more work
days per year than their nonsmoking peers. Costs for these absences include temporary replacements and lowered productivity
and morale among employees who are on the job and must cope with the absences.
has only to visualize the smoking ritual to realize the time lost by smokers. Add to that inefficiency and errors caused by
higher CO levels in smokers, eye irritation, and lower attentiveness. Research is documenting lower productivity in smoking
employees and increases in productivity when smoking is limited or banned.
health-care cost per smoker in this country is slightly over $300 per year in 1983 dollars, and this estimate is conservative.
Some insurers, recognizing the differential in mortality rates between smokers and nonsmokers, are offering up to 45 percent
discounts on premiums for term-life coverage for nonsmokers with medical examinations.
Incremental health insurance
costs incurred on behalf of nonsmokers who must breathe the smoke in the workplace involuntarily are not a part of the considerations
above. They represent another area of potential savings when smoking is either banned or restricted in the workplace.
Marvin M. Kristein, Ph.D., of the American Health Foundation, found that smokers can cost employers an extra $45 per year
for accidental injury and related workers' compensation costs. Smokers have twice the accident rate of nonsmokers due
in part to loss of attention, smoking hand occupied, eye irritation, and cough. Researchers have estimated fire accident costs
due to smoking to be $10 per year per smoker. Dr. Weis says that health and fire insurance premiums can be 25 to 35 percent
lower for smoke-free businesses, and morbidity and fire statistics suggest that premium discounts should be as high as 70
percent. Disability and early retirement payments can be cut by as much as 75 percent. Up to three-fourths of the early retirements
are probably coming from smokers, who comprise only one third of the work force. The propensity for smokers to become disabled
and retire early is almost six times greater than for nonsmokers.
Ventilation: The American Society
of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers notes that "higher ventilation rates are specified for spaces
where smoking is permitted because tobacco smoke is one of the most difficult contaminants to control at the source."
Requirements for outdoor air are two to three times greater when smoking is a factor, and filters must be cleaned or changed
much more frequently.
Maintenance Costs: Employers who have banned smoking report dramatic decreases
in the maintenance costs of their businesses. Building maintenance services are enthusiastic about the change in the amount
of cleaning required. Furniture and drapes last longer and have to be cleaned less often. Many chores done on a monthly basis
can be scheduled semiannually or annually.