Smoking burns through billions annuallyNews added by Benefits Pro on October 4, 2013

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Kathryn Mayer

Lighting up is not only costing lives, it’s literally costing Americans — and employers — big time.

Workers who smoke cost the economy an estimated $278 billion annually in lost productivity due to extra health care costs and absenteeism.

That figure comes from Gallup and is based on an analysis of the cost of extra missed workdays because of poor health, partial absenteeism due to smoke breaks, and additional health care costs compared with workers who don’t smoke.

According to Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, individuals report more than seven additional unhealthy days and about 2.5 additional missed workdays each year compared with their counterparts who don’t smoke.

According to Gallup, across all workers, the estimated cost of absenteeism to their respective employers is $341 per complete missed workday. Additionally, partial-day absenteeism due to recurring smoke breaks cost an estimated $13 per workday, accumulating to an additional $3,077 per year per worker. Health care costs for smokers are about $2,056 per year more than the costs for nonsmokers.

In the United States, 19.1 percent of workers smoke, slightly lower than the 20.3 percent of all American adults.

Meanwhile, smoking continues to account for nearly 450,000 premature deaths each year, even as concerns about obesity have soared past those about smoking, Gallup researchers note.

Findings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index are based on more than 67,000 interviews of American adults.

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