In its decisions the court reported
that "Additional evidence submitted by
indicates that each smoking
employee costs the City
as much as $ 4,611 per year in 1981 dollars over what it incurs for non-smoking
employees." City of North Miami v Kurtz, 653 So. 2d 1025.
Adjusted for inflation, $ 4,611 in 1981 dollars would be over $12,000
in 2009 dollars.
Indeed, the figure might be much higher today because
medical science has identified far more medical conditions and problems
cause by primary smoking (i.e., to the smoker himself). Also, the
now-clearly-established tendency of secondhand tobacco smoke to cause
both heart attacks and various cancers in nonsmokers (e.g., family
members of the smoking employee) was unknown in 1981.
The impact of the cost of smoking on nonsmoking employees can be
considerable. Assume, for the sake of argument, that the total
costs of employing each smoker is only $12,000 -- substantially lower
than the court finding reported above. Assume further that the
percentage of smoking employees in a given workforce matches that in
the general population, where about 20% of all adult smoke.
Under those assumptions, on the average, each group of five employees
would contain one smoker and four nonsmokers. The $10,000 of
additional costs resulting from each smoker would impact the entire
group, with $10,000 a year not available to provide the group of five
with additional health benefits, higher salaries, or other perks. This
amounts to a $2,000 a year financial burden each nonsmoking employee is
unfairly forced to bear, which is one the many reasons ASh supports
firms which seek to have a smoke-free work force.
For a summary of some of the major arguments in favor of
establishing a smoke-free workforce policy, see:
Smokefree Policy Can Save $12,000/Yr Per Employee
CBS TV News hails Scotts Miracle Gro's new smoke-free workplace policy
as "national model" and the "new reality": link
Also some states have so-called "smokers' rights laws," both the AMA
and ASH have pointed out that, because they are often poorly written
and rarely enforced, and because there are simple ways to achieve a
smoke-free workforce despite the statutes, these laws should not be a
significant deterrent. See:
Discrimination Laws Easily Avoided, Says AMA