Smokers face more problems in finding a job and when they do find a job, they earn considerably less than their non-smoker peers, a new study reveals.
The findings showed that at 12 months, only 27 per cent of smokers had found jobs compared to 56 per cent of non-smokers. Among those who had found jobs by 12 months, smokers earned on average USD5 less per hour than non-smokers.
"We found that smokers had a much harder time finding work than non-smokers," said lead study author Judith Prochaska from Stanford University Medical Center in the US. The team surveyed 131 unemployed smokers and 120 unemployed non-smokers at the beginning of the study and then at six and 12 months. "The health harms of smoking have been established for decades and our study here provides insight into the financial harms of smoking both in terms of lower re-employment success and lower wages," Prochaska added in a paper published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
They used survey questions and a breath test for carbon monoxide levels to classify job seekers into either daily smokers or non-smokers. Smokers were on average younger, less educated and in poorer health than non-smokers. "Such differences might influence job seekers' ability to find work," Prochaska stated.
After controlling for these variables, smokers still remained at a big disadvantage. After 12 months, the re-employment rate of smokers was 24 per cent lower than that of non-smokers. "We designed the analysis so that the smokers and non-smokers were as similar as possible in terms of the information we had on their employment records and prospects for employment at baseline," added co-author Michael Baiocchi.
Those who successfully quit smoking will have an easier time getting hired, the authors suggested.