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Estimating the cost of a smoking employee
  1. Micah Berman1,
  2. Rob Crane2,
  3. Eric Seiber3,
  4. Mehmet Munur4
  1. 1The Ohio State University, College of Public Health & Moritz College of Law, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  2. 2College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  3. 3College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  4. 4Tsibouris & Associates LLC, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  1. Correspondence to Micah Berman, College of Public Health & Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University, Cunz Hall, 1841 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210, USA; mberman{at}


Objective We attempted to estimate the excess annual costs that a US private employer may attribute to employing an individual who smokes tobacco as compared to a non-smoking employee.

Design Reviewing and synthesising previous literature estimating certain discrete costs associated with smoking employees, we developed a cost estimation approach that approximates the total of such costs for US employers. We examined absenteeism, presenteesim, smoking breaks, healthcare costs and pension benefits for smokers.

Results Our best estimate of the annual excess cost to employ a smoker is $5816. This estimate should be taken as a general indicator of the extent of excess costs, not as a predictive point value.

Conclusions Employees who smoke impose significant excess costs on private employers. The results of this study may help inform employer decisions about tobacco-related policies.

  • Economics
  • Smoking Caused Disease
  • Public policy

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