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Smokers have harder time getting work: study

MIAMI: People who smoke may find it harder to get work, and make less money than non-smokers, according to a US study out yesterday (Apr 11).


Tuesday 12 April 2016, 10:38AM

A man smokes a cigarette in Washington, DC by AFP

A man smokes a cigarette in Washington, DC by AFP

The findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine were based on more than 250 unemployed job-seekers in the San Francisco area.

About half smoked cigarettes – on average 13 per day – and the other half did not smoke.

Researchers checked in with them six and 12 months after they enrolled in the study to see how their job hunts were going.

“We found that smokers had a much harder time finding work than nonsmokers,” said lead author Judith Prochaska associate professor of medicine at Stanford University.

After one year, 56 percent of non-smokers had found work, compared to only 27 percent of smokers.

Among those who had jobs, smokers earned an average of $5 (B175) per hour less than nonsmokers.

Smokers who managed to get work earned an average of $15.10 (B529) per hour, compared to $710 per hour for nonsmokers.


Nearly two-thirds of those in the study were men. Participantsʼ average was 48.

Whites made up 38.2 percent of the study, African-Americans were 35.9 percent, and the remaining subjects were Hispanic, Asian or “other” race.

One third of those studied had a college degree.

The study had some limits, including its small size and its geographic location in health-conscious northern California, where smoking can carry a significant stigma.

There were also some key differences between the groups in their analysis: smokers tended to be younger, less-educated and in poorer health than nonsmokers.

“We designed this studyʼs analyses so that the smokers and nonsmokers were as similar as possible in terms of the information we had on their employment records and prospects for employment at baseline,” said co-author Michael Baiocchi, an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford.

The study urged employment service agencies to use the findings to “raise awareness of tobacco-related costs, wage losses, health harms and associations with lower reemployment success,” and to connect job-seekers to resources that could help them quit smoking.



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Christy Sweet | 13 April 2016 - 12:44:01

Smokers spend about 10 minutes of the hour... smoking. That's 80 minutes of an employer's time in one day. Let's  say it's 1 hour every day, 5 hours a week, 20 hours a month, 240 a year...That's 10 days a year you pay a worker to smoke.(A five day work week) 

Sir Burr | 12 April 2016 - 18:08:33

Maybe it says more about the demonization of smokers by society in general?

slippery snake | 12 April 2016 - 14:18:33

Not to mention all the money they spend on cigarettes,  
but they do win in having shorter life expectations !!! 

RPT | 12 April 2016 - 14:16:15

Nobody wants to work with a dirty smoker.

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