The Negative Impact of Smoking on your Career
When we think about the effects of nicotine addiction, we often consider it solely in terms of how it can impact our health. How does nicotine addiction work against you in your career though? Studies have shown that being a smoker can influence your career path and employment opportunities. If the strain on your physical health hasn’t convinced you to quit, then maybe the drain on your wallet will.
Nicotine addiction side effects
Any worker will know that the day to day costs of employment tend to tot up. A few quid for the commute in and maybe a fiver for lunch are all daily necessities that are hard to cut out of your budget.
If you’re smoking though, this number can inflate massively. According to figures from the NHS, the average UK smoker spends around £250 a month on their habit which equates to nearly £3,000 a year.
This is a significant amount of money coming out of your pocket, leaving you short-changed and potentially restricting you from spending on other things that might matter more. Apart from this, it wouldn’t hurt to have a few extra grand in the bank.
It’s not just your own finances that could be affected by a nicotine addiction. Research has shown that employers could be taking a significant loss in income by hiring regular smokers. A study in 2017 found that smoking breaks cost employers approximately £8.4bn per year. If you break that down to an individual level that’s a cost of £1,815 a year for a smoker that’s employed full time.
Nipping out for a quick cig every now and again might seem harmless enough, but frequently going out on a smoke break may be seen as unprofessional by employers and could have a negative impact on your career.
The Boss’ View
Smoking is seen by many people as a negative personal trait. Whether that’s right or not, there are connotations that come with having a nicotine addiction that causes people to have preconceived notions of how you might be.
An example of this would be that smokers don’t look after or care for their own health. For an employer, this could pose some difficult questions, such as ‘if this worker can’t be trusted to look after themselves, how can I trust them with the responsibilities of my business?’
If your boss has a negative impression of you, this could clearly have an impact on your career as a whole. Why run the risk for a habit that only hurts you anyway?
What do your co-workers think?
Smoking can also affect your relationships at work. If you go out for a smoke, the smell can linger on your clothes for a long-time afterwards. This isn’t going to be pleasant for any non-smokers that sit around you and could lessen their opinion of you.
Smokers may also be perceived as being negligent or apathetic, the act can form an impression of you before you’ve even said a word. Maintaining a good rapport with your colleagues is obviously a good way to thrive at your job but being a smoker may prevent that.
Taking a sickie?
Everyone knows about the long-term repercussions smoking can have on your health, but many people are unaware of the day to day problems that arise from nicotine addiction side effects. For example, did you know that smoking regularly can cause issues like sickness, nausea and weaken your immune system making you much more susceptible to coughs and colds?
Employers are definitely aware of this fact as time off due to smoking related illnesses is far higher than that of non-smokers. This feeds in to the high cost of hiring a smoker. Additionally, many nicotine addiction side effects are physically visible, such as yellowing of the teeth and finger tips, which my lead to a loss of self-esteem.
Right or Not
Another reason to quit smoking that you may not be aware of is that being a smoker may significantly reduce your rights as an employee and job seeker. This is because it’s not actually unlawful for UK employers to only offer jobs to non-smokers. This means that if you’re a smoker, any employer in any role could potentially refuse you the job based on nothing other than your smoking status and they would be well within their rights to do so.
For those already in work, your bosses may decide to take time spent smoking at work off of your salary. Put simply, smoking can place quite a few restrictions on the types of roles you might be offered and the rights you have when you get one.
How to quit nicotine addiction
Even if you’re aware of all the negative effects of smoking, it’s never easy to quit an addiction especially if you’re trying to do it on your own. The good thing is that by recognising the problem and trying to deal with it, you’ve already taken the first steps to quitting. One of the most proactive steps you can take in successfully kicking the habit is to seek out professional help. The NHS offers considerable support in helping smokers quit once and for all. Plus, many people who quit cigarettes find that they have a new-found desire for an overall healthy lifestyle; they find time to execise, eat healthier and sleep better. So aside from saving money and drastically cutting their chances of life-threatening illness, they lose weight and look great in the process!
Thankfully, the process of withdrawing from nicotine doesn’t require professional medical monitoring when someone decides to stop smoking and it can be managed without the need of residental rehabilitation. If you or a loved one needs help with addictions like alcohol, drugs or gambling, Port of Call provides a variety of services from counselling to full rehabilitation. If you want to find out more, get in touch with Port of Call to explore the options available and pick the right one for you.