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Smoking hurts the U.S. economy, costing more than $300 billion annually in direct medical care and lost productivity, including $5.6 billion a year in productivity losses from exposure to secondhand smoke. Almost 20 percent of the nation’s adult workforce smokes, which not only threatens employees’ health and well-being, but also decreases productivity, increases absenteeism and increases workplace maintenance costs. Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States.

These statistics highlight the serious challenges businesses face:

  • Smokers are estimated to cost employers nearly $6,000 more per year than nonsmokers.
  • Worksites that allow smoking spend about $728 more per 1,000 square feet annually in maintenance costs for office space than smokefree worksites. With U.S. commercial buildings averaging between 12,000 to 19,000 square feet, there is an estimated extra cost of about $9,000 to $14,000 annually.
  • Smoking increases the risk of fires and injuries, which can increase health and building insurance costs by up to 30 percent.

However, employers can take actions to help protect workers’ health, business productivity and profitability. In this issue of Business Pulse, learn how evidence-based solutions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can help reduce and eliminate tobacco use at work and encourage smokers to quit.