New Research Shows Effects of Smoking on Employee Wages


New research reveals that former smokers earn higher earnings than smokers and non-smokers.

The results of the research was published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. It was conducted by research economists M. Melinda Pitts and Julie L. Hotchkiss who together studied the relationship between smoking and earnings.

The researchers used data from the Tobacco Use Supplement to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey over the period of 1992 to 2011, and they noted that individuals who had stopped smoking for at least a year earned higher wages than smokers and individuals who had never smoked. The obtained data reveals that category of nonsmokers, that includes those who never smoked and former smokers, earn about 95 percent of the hourly wages of former smokers.

Smokers are not rewarded as much in the workplace. They earned about 80 percent of nonsmokers’ earnings. The researchers noted that one cigarette a day triggers a wage difference between smokers and nonsmokers,

However,  Ms. Hotckiss and Ms. Pitts are not ready to say of smokers earn less due to reduced productivity on their working place. This question is to be studied. What researchers may say exactly now is that the frequency of smoking doesn’t significantly affect their earnings.

They found out that differences in such characteristics of nonsmokers and smokers as educational attainment, employer’s tolerance to smoking behavior, do increase the wage difference.  Education level was a significant contributing variable. Nonsmokers are more educatedthan smokers, are less likely to choose partners who smoke and live in states where cigarette prices are higher.

The results of the research show that the characteristics of former smokers are more highly rewarded in the employment market than those of smokers and individuals who have never smoked.

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