Smokers take an average of eight more sick days every year than non-smokers, finds Swedish research.
A study of 14,000 Finnish workers over a period of three years showed that the average annual sick leave quota was 25 days. But regular smokers, who made up 29% of the employees, took the most time off as sick leave.
They took 11 extra days, which fell to eight after adjusting for other factors, such as underlying health, social and financial circumstances, and employment in 'riskier' jobs.
There were no sex differences among smokers in the amount of time taken as sick leave.
The authors admit that Sweden has some of the highest rates of sick leave in Europe, but their findings nevertheless indicate that smoking affects productivity.
Tobacco Control (2007) 16: 114-8