All sources are CDC unless otherwise noted

Tobacco USE

A threat to Workplace Health and Productivity

Cigarette smoking remains the largest cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States. About 20 percent of the nation’s adult workforce still smokes cigarettes, which not only threatens employees’ health and well-being, but also results in decreased productivity, increased absenteeism and increased workplace maintenance costs. Employers can help improve employee health—and overall business health—by reducing tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

Learn how employers can reduce tobacco use and increase health and productivity

All sources are CDC unless otherwise noted
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1Reduced Productivity and Higher Expenses

1Reduced Productivity and Higher Expenses

Smoking hurts the U.S. economy. It costs more than $300 billion a year in direct medical care and lost productivity. Sources

Smokers are estimated to cost employers nearly an additional $6,000 more per year than nonsmokers

Small business
with 5 smokers
$30,000
in additional costs each year

Large business
with 100 smokers
$600,000
in additional costs each year
Source
More Absenteeism, Poorer Health

More Absenteeism, Poorer Health

x

Smokers experience more health problems and disabilities than those who have never smoked. For every death from smoking, another 32 smokers are currently living with a disease or disability caused by smoking. It takes smokers longer to recover and respond to treatments, and smokers are more likely to miss days of work.

In the United States, smoking causes:

lung cancer deaths

cancer deaths

heart disease deaths

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease cases

2The Toll of Secondhand Smoke

2The Toll of Secondhand Smoke

1 IN 5 U.S. WORKERS

is exposed to secondhand smoke in the workplace

 

Exposure to secondhand smoke results in $5.6 billion a year in lost productivity in the United States.

SERIOUS HEALTH RISKS
U

SERIOUS HEALTH RISKS

x

Among adult employees who don’t smoke, secondhand smoke can cause...

heart disease

stroke

lung cancer

Secondhand smoke contains nearly 70 cancer-causing chemicals, and there is no risk-free level of exposure.

More than 41,000 U.S. nonsmokers have died from secondhand smoke exposure every year since 1964.

3Additional Workplace Costs

3Additional Workplace Costs

Worksites that allow smoking spend about $728 more per 1,000 square feet annually in maintenance costs for office space than smokefree worksites.

19,000
square feet
$13,832

costs each year

12,000
square feet
$8,736

costs each year

With U.S. commercial buildings averaging between 12,000 and 19,000 square feet, that’s an estimated extra cost of about $8,736 to $13,832 annually.

Sources
Increased Damages and Expenses

Increased Damages and Expenses

x

Smoking increases the risk of fires and injuries, which increases health and building insurance costs by up to 30 percent.

The cost of cleaning and renovating buildings where tobacco smoking is allowed increases due to factors like litter from cigarette butts, yellowed walls and odors.

Tobacco use can lower the resale value of corporate property, such as fleet vehicles.

4Cigarettes are just part of the problem

4Cigarettes are just part of the problem

More than 49 million adults in the United States use a tobacco product regularly.


Some workers may use more than one form of tobacco product.

More than three in four users of e-cigarettes also smoke regular cigarettes.

COMMONLY USED AND HAZARDOUS

COMMONLY USED AND HAZARDOUS

x

Smoking any tobacco product—including cigars, little cigars, cigarillos or hookah—is harmful to health.

The aerosol emitted from e-cigarettes is not harmless water vapor. It can contain nicotine, heavy metals, ultrafine particulate and other potentially harmful ingredients.

Chewing tobacco use is associated with cancers of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas, among other diseases.

5Your global workforce at risk

U.S.-based global companies have a vested interest in the health of their employees in the U.S. and around the world. Although tobacco use is declining in the United States, it is a growing problem in the developing world.

5Your global workforce at risk

There are 1 billion smokers worldwide— about one-seventh of the world’s population.

Employees of U.S. companies who live in developing countries are at increased risk of death and illness from tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

Sources
Source
Worldwide Tobacco Facts

Worldwide Tobacco Facts

x

Nearly 80 percent of smokers worldwide live in low-income and middle-income countries.

Source

Smokers get sick more frequently than nonsmokers, which can impact a business’s bottom line.

Source

Tobacco use increases the risk of disability and death from many diseases, including multiple types of cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and stroke.

Source

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. At least 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are attributable to smoking.

Source

Tobacco users raise the cost of healthcare and those who die early deprive their families of income

Source

CDC Business Benefits

A global leader in comprehensive tobacco prevention and control, CDC develops, implements and supports strategic efforts to protect workers from the harmful effects of tobacco use. CDC provides strategic resources for businesses and their employees, including guidance to develop and sustain tobacco free workplace policies and access to evidenced-based communication campaigns to help employees who smoke quit.

CDC Business Benefits

CDC Programs That Help Reduce Tobacco Use

Tips from Former SmokersTM Campaign

Shares real stories of people living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities, offers free downloadable materials, social and digital media resources and more—to help employees quit.

Learn More

Promoting Health and Preventing Disease and Injury Through Workplace Tobacco Policies

Guides businesses in making worksites healthier by going smokefree.

Learn More

CDC Vital Signs Secondhand Smoke: An Unequal Danger

Explores the problem of secondhand smoke exposure in the United States and shares steps everyone can take to protect people.

Learn More

take action

Your business can take proven steps to protect employees from the harmful effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure, which could help improve employee health and productivity.

5 Actions to Protect Employees from the Harmful Effects of Tobacco

Select Below
1.

Adopt a comprehensive tobacco-free worksite policy. Prohibit use of all tobacco products on workplace property, including outdoors, in parking areas, and in company vehicles, by everyone at all times.

2.

Offer all employees and their dependents health insurance that covers quitting through approved medications and counseling with little or no co-payments.

3.

Promote the free national quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, and smokefree.gov.

4.

Promote CDC’s Tips From Former SmokersTM campaign website, for inspiration and help in quitting.

5.

Consider locating your business in jurisdictions with comprehensive smokefree policies.

Learn More


For more information visit:

Reducing Tobacco Use: CDC Programs and
Resources for Business Leaders

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All sources are CDC unless otherwise noted