I will never hire another smoker. Harsh? Maybe. But hear me out.

smokeCast19390413_sFirst of all, if you want to sit on the couch all day and smoke cigarettes (or anything, for that matter), I really don’t care. It’s your life.

But if you bring it to work, it’s a different story. Then it’s MY life.

The obvious

Smelly clothes, breath and hair

Smokers miss work more.

Healthcare costs for smokers are 40% higher than for non-smokers.

The no-so-obvious

Smoking breaks.

Have you ever calculated the cost of smoking breaks? Neither have I, but others have.

One study of 646 smokers calculates the lost productivity for each smoker at 64 minutes per day. This includes preparing to smoke, going to and from the designated smoking area and the smokng itself. Assuming a 50-week year and an 8-hour work day, smoking breaks equal more than 33 days per year! You can handle the math from there.

If you think 64 minutes is high, try half. Still a big number.

And don’t think that your non-smoking co-workers don’t notice these folks taking all those breaks as they catch a whiff of their smoke-soaked clothing as they walk past.

20 percent of Americans smoke cigarettes. That leaves 80% eligible to work for me. And you, if you’re smart.

It’s not too late

You probably already have smokers on your payroll, and there’s certainly no need to panic. A thorough wellness screening can reveal exactly how many smokers you have, and you can focus your wellness program on smoking cessation. Reducing your smokers by even 10% can be a meaningful improvement.