BAD HABITS CAN LEAD
TO GOOD IDEAS
By Evert Akkerman
In the past 50 years, few habits have been so demonized as smoking and few groups so marginalized as
smokers. In old Life magazines, up to the early 1960s, smoking was cool. One brand used to claim that
“it refreshes while you smoke.” Each car ad showed tall, slim, fashionable couples pulling up to resorts
in huge cars, cigarettes in hand. Then, as the public became aware of the health risks, it seemed that
the world united to denounce the habit and turn smokers into a maligned group of outcasts.
Smoking is bad for you, warns the Surgeon General. It is a dangerous habit that causes cancer and a
whole range of other health issues. Every time someone lights up, they’re pushing the gas pedal harder
on the highway to hell. Various HR publications report on a regular basis about the extra cost for orga-nizations:
employees who smoke take additional breaks, incur extra health care costs and rack up more
sick days. Smoking also impacts morale, as non-smoking employees tend to resent smokers for taking
more and longer breaks.
In a February 2014 article, Business Insider referenced a 2013 Ohio State University study which stated
that workers who smoke, on average, cost their employers $5,800 a year. The biggest costs came from pro-ductivity
lost to smoking breaks, followed by healthcare expenses in excess of what non-smokers incur.
Background: costasz / 123RF
Illustration: jovanas / 123RF
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ NOVEMBER 2018 ❚ 31