Smoking and the Bottom Line:

The Costs of Smoking in the Workplace

The Conference Board of Canada (January 1997)

Report Highlights

  • Many employers in Canada are unaware of the costs associated with smoking in the workplace.
  • Previous studies on the costs of employing smokers, conducted in the 1980s, are in need of updating.
  • This report calculates some of the costs associated with employing a smoker as compared to an otherwise similar non-smoker.
  • Four cost factors are quantified: increased absenteeism, lost productivity, increased life insurance premiums, and smoking area costs.
  • The results are contained in Summary Table 1, and are presented in dollars per smoking employee on an annual basis.
  • Armed with this information, employers will be better equipped to evaluate the potential benefits of implementing workplace smoking cessation programs and/or policies.
  • An employer considering a smoking cessation program can calculate cost savings using data that are tailored to their organization.
Summary Table 1
The Annual Cost of Employing Smokers

($ 1995 per employee)

Cost Factor

Increased absenteeism
Decreased productivity
Increased life insurance premiums
Smoking area costs
Source: The Conference Board of Canada

Reproduced with permission from The Conference Board of Canada.