A new Ohio State University study found smokers cost businesses about $6,000 more than nonsmokers every year. The researchers used the cost of increased absenteeism, lost productivity, smoke breaks and health care to reach the $6K/year figure – not surprisingly, smoke breaks account for the biggest share of the cost.
More and more businesses are creating stronger worksite wellness programs. Arizona, for example, has a great benefit in place for state employees who smoke. Anyone interested in quitting can receive one of the 7 approved nicotine replacement therapies and behavioral counseling for free. Since our state employee health plan was selected as the benchmark plan for the Exchange under the Affordable Care Act… more and more Arizonans will eventually have the same opportunity for those resources to kick the habit. Also, many businesses in AZ have been putting a focus on worksite wellness and have linked up with the ASHLine. A few businesses have taken it so far as to not hire smokers at all.
Research studies, and corporate wellness initiatives have shown that worksite wellness programs are a good benefit for employees and employers. Those programs can significantly reduce employer costs and improve employee health. Healthier employees are more likely to stay in their jobs, less likely to be absent, take fewer breaks, and have lower health care costs.