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Smoking employees cause US businesses billions in indirect losses

Smoking employees cause US businesses billions in indirect losses
US companies spend $6,000 more each year on an employee who smokes than on those who doesn’t, say researches from the University of Ohio.

America has an estimated 43.8 million smokers over the age of 18, which means companies are losing billions.

Those with the habit tend to take 30 minutes longer breaks during a workday, which annually causes about $3,000 in indirect losses to company owners, the University paper suggests. Also, a smoking employee spends on average $2,000 more on medical insurance. Statistics also showed that smokers are less disciplined and efficient. They skive off work more often and achieve less progress at work.

One of the few ‘benefits’ smoking employees bring to companies is lower payments in corporate pension systems. Due to the earlier deaths of smokers, each of them save their companies about $296 a year, the report calculated.

The paper was published at a time when US employers are revising their attitude towards smokers. Some companies have chosen to either stop hiring smokers or make them quit by a particular date. Sometimes employers just charge more for medical insurance. The Ohio University experts said they wanted to help employers calculate their risks, while hiring.

In the move to cut smoking, Russia decided to take a larger scale action. The country enacted the anti-tobacco law this Saturday, which prohibits smoking in public places. Efficiency of the law is now being argued, with some calling it “unreal” for the country where about 40% of the population regularly light up. “Our country isn’t ready for this law,” as the Christian Science Monitor quoted Russian legal expert Mikhail Barshchevsky. The expert compared the anti-tobacco law to the unpopular effort by the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's to crack down on drinking under his "perestroika" reforms of the late 1980s. Given the low chance many Russian smokers will kick the habit and abide by the law, more bribery of policemen would be an outcome, Borshevsky concluded.

The advocates of the law say foreign practice shows that such action could be efficient. France managed to cut the number of smokers by 30% in 5 years, reminded Aleksey Lysakov, a member of State Duma committee on health protection. 

Data from the World Health Organization shows that about 6 million people across the world die from diseases related to smoking. Above 600,000 die of a so called passive smoking. If no measures are taken the number of such deaths is set to rise to 8 million by 2030. 

In 2004 Ireland became the first country to ban smoking in public places.

Among the countries where a non – tobacco laws is  now active are Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Denmark, India, Egypt, Spain, and China.

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