Smokers make $8,300 less per year than nonsmokers
According to the authors, previous cross-sectional surveys have not enabled researchers to determine whether smoking is a cause or effect of unemployment.
As such, they prospectively tracked re-employment success by smoking status in their study, which, to their knowledge, is the first investigation to do so.
In total, there were 251 unemployed participants from the San Francisco and Marin counties in California, 131 of whom were daily smokers. They were an average of 48 years old, and 65.7% were men.
Regarding race, 38.2% were white, 35.9% were black, 9.6% were Hispanic, 7.2% were Asian and 9.2% were multiracial or another race. Additionally, 31.1% had a college degree and 39.4% were “unstably housed.”
Per day at baseline, the smokers consumed an average of 13.5 cigarettes.
Results show that 55.6% of the nonsmokers were re-employed within 12 months, compared with only 26.6% of the smokers. The researchers say these results suggest nonsmokers are 30% more likely to re-employed than smokers.
Furthermore, the researchers found that nonsmokers earned more money upon re-employment than the smokers did. In detail, the hourly wage for smokers was $15.10 per hour on average, compared with $20.27 per hour for nonsmokers.
Given that this is about $5 less per hour, the researchers say that, at an average of 32 hours per week, this translates into a difference of $8,300 per year.