On the Record

The Ohio State law faculty offers insights and analysis on a variety of pressing legal issues in the news cycle. We share their latest through our On the Record blog. Quotes are available for journalists to use.

Berman’s bytes on smoking study

Micah Berman, an assistant professor who holds joint appointments at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law and the College of Public Health, gave a great on-camera interview from our campus studio recently about a study he helped conduct that examined the costs employers pay for employees who smoke.

The study, which made headlines around the world this summer, found that the average smoker costs an employer approximately $5,800 annually. The greatest expense? Lost productivity due to smoke breaks during the day.

Berman explains that if someone takes an extra two breaks outside of the regularly sanctioned times, that can add up to 30 minutes wasted daily. That may not sound like much, but as he pointed out, “Over the course of a year, that can add up to a lot of lost productivity.”

He acknowledged that employers are concerned about the costs up front for employee smoking cessation programs, but Berman said the study should prompt them to consider the bigger picture.

“It costs some money up front to provide that kind of cessation assistance,” Bermand said, “but over the course of several years it will certainly pay off.”

Looking ahead: Expect to see more of Berman in the future as an expert source on tobacco regulation. He is one of the scholars involved with a new research center devoted to the study of tobacco use patterns, industry marketing practices, and public perception. The university received an $18.7 million federal grant for the center, which will help the Food and Drug Administration put science behind its new role in regulating tobacco.