Research Shows Smokers Have a Harder Time Finding Jobs

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We all know that tobacco wreaks havoc on your health, but now a new study suggests there may also be a link between a person's smoking habit and their likelihood of landing a job. The results were published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

As reported by Medical Daily, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine looked at 131 unemployed smokers and 120 unemployed nonsmokers. One year into the study, 56 percent of the nonsmokers had found jobs compared to only 27 percent of the smokers. And even when the smokers did manage to get hired, they were still at a disadvantage. Those who didn't smoke earned on average $5 an hour more than those who did.

Studies on the link between smoking and unemployment have turned up similar trends in the past. But according to the paper's lead author Judith Prochaska, no one has dug into whether it's smoking that contributes to the struggle to find a job, or if it's the stress of unemployment that makes you more likely to smoke.

This is the question her team sought to clear up, but an answer proved difficult to pin down. Smokers are more likely to be younger, less-educated, and poorer in health than nonsmokers, which are all details that could impact their salary and employment status. To account for these factors, study co-author Michael Baiocchi said in a press release that participants were carefully selected to be as similar as possible in terms of "employment records and prospects for employment at baseline."

The next step for the team is a follow-up study that's already underway. Researchers will look at two new groups of unemployed smokers, one of which will be given special treatment to help them quit. If Prochaska's hypothesis is correct, the participants who are able to quit will have an easier time getting hired.

A smaller salary isn't the only financial drawback smokers face. Over the course of a lifetime, smoking can cost you up to $2 million in some states. That's just one reason of many to drop the habit and quit cold turkey.

[h/t Medical Daily]