Smokers are 33% more likely to be absent from work and take, on average, 2.7 extra sick days annually. This costs the UK economy an estimated £1.4 billion every year.
Researchers asked employees about their current and former smoking habits and tracked how often they were absent over an average of two years. Smoking was clearly tied to their short-term absences as well as leaves of four weeks or more.
The findings emphasised the importance of encouraging smokers to quit as it is beneficial both to the health of the smoker and their economic productivity.