Smokers clock up almost 8 additional days of sick leave every year

March 29, 2007

Smokers take an average of almost eight days more of sick leave every year than their non-smoking colleagues, suggested research published in Tobacco Control.

The research team analysed nationally representative registry data on sickness absence among more than 14,000 workers in Sweden between 1988 and 1991.

Of the sample included in the study, 45% had never smoked. Of the remainder, 29% were current smokers and 26% former smokers.

Non-smokers took the fewest days off sick; smokers took the most. Across the whole sample, the average number of days taken as sick leave was 25.

But smokers took almost 11 extra days off sick compared with their non-smoking colleagues, equal to 43% of all sick leave taken every year among the sample, say the authors.

There was little difference in the number of additional days taken as sick leave between male and female workers.

Adjusting for the fact that smokers tend to choose “riskier” jobs and have poorer underlying health, as well as socioeconomic factors, brought the difference in the number of days taken as sick leave to just below eight.

Factors other than ill health directly caused by smoking may account for much of the time taken off in sick leave, suggest the authors.

The authors accept that sick leave rates in Sweden are among some of the highest in Europe, but say that their findings nevertheless point to smoking as having a significant impact on productivity.

Source: BMJ Specialty Journals

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

Related Stories

Automated counting of tumor cells in blood

May 4, 2015

Biological and medical scientists have been using flow cytometry to count cancer cells for the past 40 years. But the large instruments are expensive and can only be operated by trained personnel. By contrast the PoCyton ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.