What are the Effects of Smoking on Productivity At Work?

Does smoking reduce productivity at work? What effects does this have on our job performance apart from affecting our health?

Those who do smoke might think that they are doing well in their job. They could be thinking like this because of the temporary stimulating effects of smoking. While smoking stimulates our brain and thus encourages in doing some wonderful activities but it is not the same in the long run. It can have short term stimulating effects. But those are not really important for an average worker.

Two independent studies done in Sweden and United States reveal the same thing: smoking affects our productivity at work.

The study done in the U.S. Navy suggests that it has its effects of poor performance which is consistent, demotion instead of promotion and other non-honorable discharges. While the Swedish study on workers suggests that smokers take more number of sick days or about eight more days, than the non-smoker annually.

Smoking was related with disabilities, decreased job performance, reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and taking long work breaks too often. This was shown by both the studies for both civilians and also military people. The fact that there are a higher number of people smoking in military is what causes the US department of defense to concentrate on the effects of smoking.

The studies suggest that smokers take more leaves consistently than non-smokers and even though they to do their best with the stimulating effects, they end up in taking long breaks thus reducing productivity in the long run.

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  1. I am a smoker of over 35 years, the only health care issue I have is adult type 2 Diabetes. From the time of my birth I have been around second hand smoke…so I quess I am just lucky to be alive Huh? As for smokers reducing productivity at work that the above mentioned studies SUGGESTED, in my department at work some of the laziest people are the non-smokers who take at least 20 breaks a day just sitting at thier desk or out in the hall and or bathroom on their cells, turned in their seats chatting with other non-smokers, running back and forth to the vending machines, while I and other smokers are running around trying to find things to keep them busy and productive until their SCHEDULED break so that they can go out and smoke. You know you don’t have to look very hard to find a study that supports your opinion it would really be refreshing to have someone not funded by Johnson and Johnson, American Cancer Association, Politicians, Pharmaceutical companies or any other Anti-smoking groups. Can we find an unbiased scientific study?????

  2. janet,
    Good comment.

    But what you see are statistically insignificant number of cases in the overall study. If somebody is not doing work being lazy making rounds here and there that means they do not deserve that work. That clearly tells that they are not interested in the work they are doing but doing just for the sake of a living.

    Whereas you can find a lot of hard working people both smart and proactive because they like what they are doing. So in any study the outcome is considered based on the results having maximum percentage so that you can confidently say that much percentage will definitely have impact on organization whether positive or negative. And if it happens that exceptionally all the workers in a company are lazy it means that the company is not doing enough encourage the individuals. But rather few smokers are smoking their best to motivate themselves either for the benefit of themselves or for the job itself.

  3. Hi, I am Lawrence, an Applied Economics student. I am wondering if you could tell me where I could find the statistics that back up your claims. I am doing an econometric study regarding this matter as well. I need studies to support the results i got from various Business Process Outsourcing employees. I am very grateful for your reply. Also, I also found out that smoking reduces work efficiency not just output. Your reply will be much appreciated. Thank you.

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