Smokers found to take more sick days

Smoking Brazilian

The review, which has been published in the journal Addiction, examined 29 separate reports carried out between 1960 and 2011 in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the United States and Japan, embracing more than 71,000 public and private sector workers.

Experts asked the workers about their present and former smoking habits and used reviews to identify how often they were absent over an average of two years.

Existing smokers were 33 percent more likely to be absent at work than non-smokers and they missed an average of 2.7 extra days each year, as outlined by Jo Leonardi-Bee of the University of Nottingham, UK, and her colleagues.

The experts determined that existing smokers were still 19 percent more likely to be absent at work than ex-smokers, so motivating smokers to give up smoking could change some of the lost-work trends.

“Smoking cessation seems to reduce absenteeism and lead to considerable cost savings for workers,” said Leonardi-Bee and her colleagues.

The £1.4bn pounds lost in the UK because of smoking-related absenteeism was only one cost of smoking in the place of work, as outlined by Leonardi-Bee and her colleagues. Others involved productivity lost to smoking breaks and the cost of smoking-related fire damage.

Basing on the research, smoking was associated with workers’ short-term absences as well as absence of four weeks or more.

Douglas Levy, a tobacco researcher from the Harvard Medical School in Boston who was not involved with the study, said that obviously the most significant message for any individual’s health is give up smoking but he considers that message is good.

He added that he considers the research does show the fact that this is something that does not have an effect on the people, it has an affect on the economy as well.”

Levy said that the most significant finding was the lowering in absenteeism after workers stop smoking, promoting the idea of companies funding smoking-cessation lessons and other workplace health programs.

Levy’s own study demonstrated that children living with smoking parents were more probable to miss school. Secondhand smoke has been associated with a variety of health ailments, from asthma to heart attacks, so workers smoking cigarettes may also have to be absent at work more often to be at home with sick family members.


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