When a 20 pack of cigarettes costs upwards of £8, it's obvious that smoking takes a drag out of one's bank balance.
A new study, published by Julie L. Hotchkiss and M. Melinda Pitts of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, though, indicates that it is not non-smokers who financially benefit the most in the work-place - but rather ex-smokers.
Their findings not only point to smokers receiving just 80% of a non-smoker's wage, but both smokers and non-smokers earn 95% of what a former smoker would. Why ?
'It takes a special person to quit an addictive behavior, and there is a higher reward for smoking cessation than not ever starting it,' said Ms. Pitts. 'I think the qualities of persistence, patience and everything else that goes along with being able to quit are valuable to employers.'
The report points to previous studies which examine how smokers are not regarded to be desirable workers because of a perceived lack of productivity due to 'fag breaks' but more because of absenteeism through lowering their stock of health.
The paper, Even One Is Too Much: The Economic Consequences of Being a Smoker, states that: '60% of the wage differential between smokers and non smokers comes from differences in the characteristics these workers bring to the labour market, especially educational attainment.' Non-smokers, it is argued, come from a more educated background.
The study sampled a pool of 121,334 people. 76,321 of whom never smoked, 20,673 were ex smokers and a little over 20,000 smoked every day.
image: © Steven Depolo