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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31829f3129
Original Articles

The Relationship Between Smoking and Health Care, Workers' Compensation, and Productivity Costs for a Large Employer

Sherman, Bruce W. MD; Lynch, Wendy D. PhD

Continued Medical Education
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Abstract

Objective: To quantify and compare employee health- and productivity-related costs for current smokers versus nonsmokers for a large US employer.

Methods: Multivariate regression models were used to compare medical, pharmacy, workers' compensation, and short-term disability costs, self-reported absenteeism, and presenteeism by smoking status. Costs were aggregated over 3 years, from 2008 to 2010.

Results: Controlling for demographic variables, smokers had significantly different health care utilization patterns, as well as higher absenteeism and presenteeism costs. Overall, employees who smoke were estimated to cost employers $900 to $1383 more than their nonsmoking counterparts.

Conclusions: Current smokers experience incrementally greater lost productivity than nonsmokers, contributing to employer costs associated with smoking. Increased employer focus on smoking cessation may help mitigate these organizational costs.

Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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