Smoke-free Workplaces: Good for Business

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Why Do Smoke-free Workplaces Save Money?

  • No legal claims from non-smokers exposed at work1
  • No added healthcare costs from non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke at work2
  • ↓ Housekeeping and maintenance costs2
  • ↑ Number of employees who quit smoking1


What Does a Smoking Employee Cost Business?*


Estimated Annual Cost (in 2010 dollars)

More absences due to illness


Lower productivity


Time lost for smoking breaks


Higher healthcare costs (if self-insured)


Pension savings (if defined-benefit pension plan)


Total costs per smoking employee


*Adapted from Berman, Crane, Seiber, & Munur (2013)2


How do Cessation Programs Benefit Business?

  • ↓ Healthcare costs 1 year after quitting; (close to never-smokers’ costs by year 10)3
  • ↓ 3.1 illness days/year per “quitter” for the rest of their employment2
  • Immediate ↓ in smoke break costs (largest single cost)1
  • Benefits of workplace cessation outweigh expenses in 4 years1


The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Supports Smoke-free Policies

  • 92% of Kentucky Chamber members are supportive of smoke free laws.4
  • The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce supports a statewide smoke-free law,5 noting that:

“Smoking is not only killing us, it is bankrupting us – both in terms of costs to business and costs to government.” - Dave Adkisson, President and CEO, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, 2013

How is Smoking Bankrupting Kentucky?

  • Kentucky’s annual health care costs caused by smoking: $1.5 billion6
    • Portion covered by Medicaid: $487 million6
  • Residents’ tax burden from smoking-related expenses: $582 per household6
  • Smoking-caused productivity losses: $2.3 billion6


Is This an Economic Turning Point for Kentucky?

  • For every $1 earned by Kentucky tobacco growers, Kentucky spends more than $4 treating sick smokers.7
  • A study of 216 communities in 8 Southeastern states including Kentucky showed no economic effect from local smoke-free laws except West Virginia, showing increased restaurant employment.8
  • Although Kentucky's historic ties to tobacco run deep in many counties, we can no longer afford to lead the nation in smoking, chronic disease and early and painful death from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.9

”The smoking ban is a non-issue in London. We all got re-elected and new restaurants have been built. No complaints, not even from the bars." – Mayor Troy Rudder, London, KY, 2013

1. The health consequences of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke: a report of the Surgeon General. – [Atlanta, Ga.] : U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, [2006]

2. Berman M, Crane R, Seiber E, & Munur M. Estimating the cost of a smoking employee. Tob Control 2013;0:1-6.


3. Javitz HS, Zbikowski SM, Swan GE, Jack LM. Financial burden of tobacco use: an employer’s perspective. Clin Occup Environ Med 2006; 5:9-29. doi:10.1016/j.coem.2005.10.007.

4. Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (2013). 2013 public policy survey.

5. Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (2013). Smoke-free policies: Good for business, good for Kentucky. Retrieved from 6Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (6/20/13). The toll of tobacco in Kentucky. Retrieved from

7. Snell, W.W., (6/4/13). Tobacco data for KY, post buyout (2005-2012) in total value ($s) and total lbs. Unpublished data, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.

8. Loomis, GR, Shafter PR, van Hasselt M. The economic impact of smoke-free laws on restaurants and bars in 9 states. Prev Chronic Dis 2013; 10:120327

9. Hahn, E.J. (July 29, 2013). Kentucky Voices: It's time to take Kentucky smoke-free statewide. Lexington Herald- Leader. Retrieved from