Smoking doesn’t just cost you money
Amazingly, there are still people who smoke. Not that there is anything wrong with people making their own minds up to smoke, provided they are in full possession of the health warnings, it’s just that smoking nowadays requires such a high level of commitment. Sure, having a fag outside is no hardship on a sunny day, but in the middle of a never ending wet and snowy winter? You’ve gotta really want that fag.
One claim smokers make is that smoking helps calm their nerves, something that might be in abundance just before a job interview. But new research from the States might mean that smoking before a job interview would not be the best way to get a job.
According to the completely unbiased Tobacco Control Journal, smokers actually cost more to employ than non-smokers owing to absenteeism, lower productivity and increased pension costs. They put this extra cost as the equivalent of £3,839 a year, including £344 in extra days off, £307 in reduced productivity while you dream of your next fag break, and £2,045 in time wasted on fag breaks themselves.
Anti-smoking groups have welcomed the report, because they knew this all along, with some groups, such as of British Lung Foundation Wales calling for employers to provide smoking cessation services for employees to help them over their addiction. After all, it'll save them money in the long run.
But Simon Clark, director of the consumer group Forest, which lobbies for the rights of smokers, was understandably less impressed:
“This study trots out the usual estimates and calculations. Yes, smoking is a risk to people's health but so is obesity, drinking to excess and lack of exercise,” he said.
“Non-smokers take coffee breaks, make personal phone calls and use social media at work. Should those activities be targeted too?” he concluded, conveniently ignoring the fact that smokers can also drink coffee, make personal phone calls and use social media.
However, he finished by insisting that whether a person smokes or not should not be a factor for employers, saying “people should be judged on their ability to do the job, not on whether they smoke”. While smokers are not officially a discriminated-against group (although smokers may argue they are discriminated against) it is unlikely to be legal to refuse to employ someone just because they smoke. But then again, perhaps your CV will just look better if it doesn’t smell of stale smoke...