In a recent study from Ohio State University, employees who smoke cost businesses nearly $6,000 more each year than employees who don’t. The study found that the combination of more time off, smoking breaks and added health care costs all contributed to this number and suggested that these factors could have implications for smoking policies in the workplace.

The study found that low productivity due to more missed days at work costs employers, on average, $517 annually for each employee who smokes. Low productivity at work due to smoking-related health problems costs $462 annually for each smoker, smoking breaks cost $3,077 a year per smoker and excess health care expenses cost $2,056 annually for every employee who smokes. Annual pension costs from deaths at a younger age cost an average of $296 less for each employee who smokes. Overall, the total estimated cost to employers was $5,816 per year.

Many employers, including some local, Pittsburgh-area companies, have already begun to recoup these lost dollars by steering away from hiring smokers and charging employees who smoke higher premiums for health insurance. Other companies have implemented strict no-smoking policies for employees that are enforced not only to company premises, but off-site as well.

Smoke-Free for Life is an eight session adult smoking cessation program from Breathe Pennsylvania that uses a group approach to quitting smoking and is ideal for companies that wish to support employees who are attempting to quit. All aspects of tobacco use are addressed in the program. For more information, call Breathe Pennsylvania at 1-800-220-1990 or visit