While we are all well aware that cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, many of us choose to give them a try at some point in our lives. After just a few cigarettes, we are addicted. And then we need every reason in the world to stick to our decision to quit. It’s often not good enough to know the health consequences because (hopefully) we typically decide to quit before we are staring cancer or premature death in the face.
If health consequences and the cost of medical care are not enough, then consider the ways that smoking affects your work productivity. Smokers in the workplace cost businesses a great deal of money every year, and some companies are adopting policies of only hiring nonsmokers.
The prospect of quitting smoking can be a scary one, especially as it relates to your work if you have a stressful or high-pressure job. One way to reduce the productivity loss related to smoking at work is to make the switch to tobaccoless dip. It makes use of edible green leaves and a simple list of food-safe ingredients to deliver pharmaceutical-grade nicotine. Tobaccoless dip contains no tobacco stems or leaves and does not require stepping away from your workstation to indulge.
Days of Productivity Lost to Smoke Breaks
Men spend an average of nine days a year smoking on the job, and women spend an average of six. You read that right. Days, not hours. You know the feeling. You’re watching the clock for the time you can run outside and take your smoke break. You also need to use the bathroom and get a drink of water and blow your nose, and the next thing you know, you’re back at your workstation late.
Many of us are working from home during the pandemic, and the stress in our makeshift offices may be ten times worse. Making sudden adjustments, trying to work while dealing with the family, and then the self-control required not to chain-smoke … it’s all too much. You may be struggling enough to keep a routine, let alone trying to keep track of how much time you’ve spent smoking.
People Who Smoke Miss More Work
There have been some interesting studies regarding people who smoke using more sick days, and they are entirely correlative in nature. One comprehensive study indicated that while smokers reported fewer days than nonsmokers suffering from symptoms and illnesses like allergies, depression, migraines, and arthritis, they also reported taking more days off related to those specific problems.
It is not clear whether people who smoke are simply prone to having more severe symptoms or not, but it is clear that smokers take more sick days than nonsmokers. The issue may be that when you smoke, you just don’t have the energy to deal with symptoms and work at the same time. Quitting smoking will help you get your energy back so you can push through even on those days you don’t feel your best.
Smoking Reduces Cognitive Functioning
If you have a job that requires a high level of mental acuity or concentration, smoking is hurting your game. Research indicates that smoking reduces your long-term memory abilities as well as your planning capabilities. If that’s not enough of a blow, your executive functioning suffers from smoking as well, meaning that your self-control and attention span are diminished. How can you be expected to get anything done when there are squirrels outside?
Smoking-Related Health Problems Lead to Early Retirement
In a 2011 study, researchers found that smokers aged 50-64 are more than twice as likely to receive full disability retirement, with the highest concentration of causes related to cardiovascular problems and tumors. Disability retirement means that you generally do not receive the full pension you planned on, so if you’re going to keep smoking, prepare to be a little poorer than you had intended.
Death Kills Productivity More Than Anything Else
Smokers die an average of ten years sooner than nonsmokers. When you are dead, your productivity goes down the drain. Something about six feet of dirt on top of you just makes it impossible to focus.
Final Thoughts on Smoking and Productivity
We all know what smoking does to our bodies in the long run, but the here-and-now consequences can sometimes be a bit elusive. When you put the losses due to smoking into the perspective of the workplace and financial loss, it can sometimes make things a little more real.
If you are struggling to let go of the nicotine, there are some options available to you that will at least get rid of the tobacco. You could try vaping, though that still requires inhaling chemicals into your lungs. Nicotine gums, patches, and prescription medications are also a popular option; and smokeless tobacco alternatives are gaining more interest as smokers work to find what is best for them on their smoking cessation journey. Whatever you choose, you can do this. Make sure you get social support and practice good self-care. You deserve it.