According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “tobacco use could kill one billion people during this century.”
That’s more than three times the number of people living in the U.S. today.
It’s an ugly statistic. And a costly one for businesses. Employees that smoke are damaging nearly every part of their bodies.
How are smokers driving up your healthcare costs? According to WHO:
- Smokers increase their risk of lung cancer 5-10 fold
- Twenty-four percent (24%) of men who smoke can expect to develop cancer
- Men who smoke have a 27-times higher rate of oral cancer than men who don’t
- For laryngeal (voice box) cancer, rates are 12 times higher among smokers
- Tobacco use is the single most important cause of bladder cancer, accounting for an estimated 40-70% of all cases
- There is now general consensus that cigarette smoking increases risks of cervical cancer and is responsible for approximately 30% of cervical cancer deaths in the U.S.
- Smoking is estimated to be responsible for 30% of pancreatic cancer
- Smoking appears to double the risk of colon cancers
And the list goes on…. and on…
- 1 in 8 hip fractures are attributable to cigarette smoking
- Tobacco use increases risks and severity of peripheral vascular disease
- Smokers have higher prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and related lung function losses and mortality
Depending on the healthcare benefits you offer, a smoker can potentially cost you an arm and a leg – and impact the amount of benefits you can continue to offer your entire workforce.
Helping employees to quit smoking is significantly more affordable. The few thousand dollars you may spend to help an employee quit can reduce or prevent the treatment costs of all the conditions listed above.
May 31st is WHO’s worldwide celebration of “No Tobacco Day.” If you’re a business with employees who smoke, it’s a good reminder that helping them kick the habit can help you kick costs.