According to a recent study, an unemployed smoker is less likely to be hired than a non-smoker, and will earn less when they’re hired.
The study reinforces the idea that smoking is a cause, not an effect, to not having a job.
“Among smokers re-employed at one year, on average, their hourly income was $5 less relative to reemployed nonsmokers: $15.10 versus $20.27, a 25.5 percent difference,” Judith Prochaska of Stanford University and her colleagues wrote in their report.
“Averaging 32 hours per week, this is a deficit exceeding $8,300 annually.”
That $8,300 figure is what smoking costs the average person, according to the research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine.
The study involved examining 251 San Francisco area job hunters between 2013 and 2015. The smokers to non-smokers breakdown was roughly 50/50. After the two-year testing period, twice as many non-smokers had jobs.
“At 12-month follow-up 60 of 108 nonsmokers (55.6 percent) were reemployed compared with 29 of 109 smokers (26.6 percent),” the researchers documented.
Even after factoring in other variables such as sex, criminal history, a person’s access to stable housing and transportation, alcohol and drug use, still came to the one constant: non-smokers were 24 percent more likely to get a job.
So why are employers wary of hiring smokers?
“Tobacco use among employees is associated with greater health care costs, unproductive time, and absenteeism,” said the Stanford team. “An employee who smokes costs private employers in the United States an estimated excess cost (above that for a nonsmoking employee) of $5,816 per year.”
“Anecdotally, from talking with hiring managers in the field, jobseekers who smell of tobacco place themselves at a great disadvantage for securing employment,” they added.
Many smokers, surprisingly over 90%, have tried to quit smoking at least once. While nicotine is as addictive as anything you’d find, employers rarely try to help with the problem.