Objectives-To: evaluate the impact of smoking status on objective productiv
ity and absenteeism measures; evaluate the impact of smoking status on subj
ective measures of productivity; and assess the correlation between subject
ive and objective productivity measures.
Design-Prospective cohort study in a workplace environment.
Subjects-Approximately 300 employees (100 each of former, current, and neve
r smokers) at a reservation office of a large US airline.
Main outcome measures-Objective productivity and absenteeism data were supp
lied by the employer. Subjective assessments of productivity were collected
using a self report instrument, the Health and Work Questionnaire (HWQ).
Results-Current smokers had significantly greater absenteeism than did neve
r smokers, with former smokers having intermediate values; among former smo
kers, absenteeism showed a significant decline with years following cessati
on. Former smokers showed an increase in seven of 10 objective productivity
measures as compared to current smokers, with a mean increase of 4.5%. Whi
le objective productivity measures for former smokers decreased compared to
measures for current smokers during the first year following cessation, va
lues for former smokers were greater than those for current smokers by 1-4
years following cessation. Subjective assessments of "productivity evaluati
on by others" and "personal life satisfaction" showed significant trends wi
th highest values for never smokers, lowest for current smokers, and interm
ediate for former smokers.
Conclusions-Workplace productivity is increased and absenteeism is decrease
d among former smokers as compared to current smokers. Productivity among f
ormer smokers increases over time toward values seen among never smokers. S
ubjective measures of productivity provide indications of novel ways of pro
ductivity assessment that are sensitive to smoking status.