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In the News: Smokers Earn Less than Non Smokers

Quitting smoking can not only help your health but it apparently can help your wallet in more ways than one. Smoking is an expensive habit to begin with. In some states, a pack will cost you more than $11 a pop.  But a working paper published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta also reports smokers earn an average 17.5%. less than their non-smoking colleagues.

The report finds smokers make an annual average income of $27, 248, compared to nonsmokers’ average salary of $33,820. The study also notes that the frequency of lighting does not correlate with the wage gap.

The difference is due to a number of factors, one of which is that nonsmokers tend to have a higher education level. In addition, employers may have a bias against smokers as employees that smoke tend to increase health care costs and can create tension in the office over smoke breaks. In an environment where employers are trying to cut costs wherever they can, more and more employers are screening for smokers pre-employment and are offering counseling and wellness programs for smokers to kick the habit.

The good news? People who once smoked and have quit earn more money than both nonsmokers and current smokers.

“It takes a special person to quit an addictive behaviour, and there is a higher reward for smoking cessation than not ever starting it,” said M Melinda Pitts, one of the two economists responsible for the study.

“I think the qualities of persistence, patience and everything else that goes along with being able to quit are valuable to employers,” Pitts wrote in the study.

Thinking about quitting? Click here to read about how our own Rhea Rosier is using meditation to kick the habit.

And if you, or someone you love, is in need of addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.


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