Separate studies on two continents have concluded smoking is associated with decreased productivity on the job, both in the civilian and military sectors. The studies were published in the April 2007 issue of the journal Tobacco Control.
"In both the civilian and military sectors, smoking has been linked to disability and job-related outcomes, including decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and long and more frequent work breaks," reported Terry L. Conway, Ph.D. and colleagues at San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health.
The study of civilians was conducted by Dr. Petter Lundborg, an economist at the Free University of Amsterdam. Lundborg examined data on a nationally representative sample of 14,272 workers, ages 16 to 65, in Sweden. Lundborg analyzed sick days taken between 1988 to 1991 using information from a social insurance database.
He found smokers averaged 34 sick days annually, compared to 25 sick days a year for former smokers and 20 for nonsmokers. In his analysis, Lundborg controlled for health problems among all participants and found health problems were not the only cause of smokers' absenteeism. "I found that health problems accounted for about two days and something," said Lundborg. "The remaining eight days are probably explained by something other than health. There are a number of possible explanations for the difference," he said, "There might be personal characteristics that we can't observe." Likewise, Conway and fellow researchers in a study of women in the U.S. Navy noted "Cigarette smoking might simply be a 'marker' for other underlying factors (e.g., non-conformity, high risk-taking) that contribute to poorer performance in the military."
Conway and colleagues examined data on 5,487 women who enlisted during a one-year period beginning in March 1996. "Compared with never-smokers, daily smokers at entry into the U.S. Navy had subsequent career outcomes consistently indicating poorer job performance (e.g., early attrition prior to serving a full-term enlistment, more likely to have a less-than-honorable discharge, more demotions and desertions, lower achieved pay-grade and less likely to re-enlist)," they wrote.
"Tobacco use is of particular concern to the U.S. Department of Defense because, historically, the military has had higher and heavier rates of tobacco use than civilians," wrote the researchers. The Pentagon health survey found, among members of the U.S. military, smoking increased from 30% in 1988 to 34% in 2002 -- the first recorded rise since 1980.
Among the U.S. population in general, smoking has steadily decreased since 1965. In 1965, 42.4% of American adults were smokers, compared to 20.9% in 2004. This decline began after the Surgeon General's first report on the dangers of smoking in 1964. This warning could have been made earlier -- in 1957 and again in 1959 then-Surgeon General Leroy Burney was the first federal officer to publicly state smoking was a cause of lung cancer.
As discussed in various NaturalNews stories, when the Surgeon General's report finally surfaced in 1964, the American Medical Association did not endorse the report. Just a month prior, the AMA had accepted $15 million in funding from the tobacco industry. The Journal of the American Medical Association accepted money from tobacco companies for many years while it ran their full-page advertisements in the journal.
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