Study shows smokers are less productive
PARIS: Smokers who claim that a cigarette helps them work better are given the lie by a study which shows they not only need to take more time off for sickness but also are less productive than non-smokers.
The study covered 300 booking cle-rks at a large US airline, comprising 100 current smokers, 100 former smo-kers and 100 others who had never smoked at all. Current smokers were absent from work for sickness for 6.16 days per year on average, compared with 4.53 days among ex-smokers and 3.86 among neverâ€™â€™ smokers.
The airline's reservation computers also provided objective details as to an employee's productivity by recording how much sales income that clerk had notched up for the company, how long he or she took to answer a call and how long that person was away from their desk. Current smokers performed the worst of the group. Their production was 4% below â€œneverâ€ smokers and 8.3% below ex-smokers.
The research was conducted jointly by business consultancy Charles Ri-ver Associates, medical research firm MedTap International and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, which used the data in a project for a smoking cessation product. It is published in Tobacco Control, a publication of the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
According to the authors, their stu-dy is important as it provides an im-portant measure about the hidden costs of smoking for an employer.
They said that in addition to sick leave, a smoker could be less productive because he or she was taking ritualistic smoking breaks, and often felt unwell, which had an impact on work performance.
â€œSmokers and workers with other types of addictions may deny that their addictions have any negative in-fluence on productivity,â€™â€™ they said.
In 1990, the US Office of Technology and Assessment estimated that the workplace cost of disability and premature mortality from smoking em-ployees for American businesses was US$47bil a year. â€“ AFP