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Smoking linked to employee absenteeism

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

A new study published in the journal Addiction found that smokers are more likely to miss work than non-smokers, Reuters reported.

Researchers analyzed data from 29 different studies that were conducted from 1960 to 2011, which looked at 71,000 workers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Japan. Current employees were also surveyed about their past and present smoking habits, and researchers looked at their average rate of workplace absenteeism over the last two years.

The study revealed that smokers have a 33 percent greater chance of missing work, and they are absent for an average of 2.7 more days each year than non-smokers, amounting to $2.25 billion in lost productivity in the U.K. in 2011.

"Quitting smoking appears to reduce absenteeism and result in substantial cost-savings for employers," wrote research author Jo Leonardi-Bee, Ph.D., of the University of Nottingham.

Smoking-related fatalities and illnesses
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking kills an average of 443,000 individuals annually, while 8.6 million people currently suffer from a smoking-related illness. Nearly 88 million people are exposed to secondhand smoke, which can cause heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory infections, which can be detected with a lab test. The source also notes that an estimated 3,000 non-smokers die every year due to lung cancer that's caused by secondhand smoke. In total, smoking accrues an additional $96 million in healthcare costs each year.

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