Cigarette Smoking at Hire as a Predictor of Employment Outcome

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We have reported that cigarette smoking at the time of hire is associated with elevated rates of accidents, injuries, absence, discipline, and firing among US postal workers. We followed this cohort of 2537 for a second year to assess whether these associations would change with time in a workplace with active smoking cessation programs. Smokers' elevated risks for accidents, injuries, and discipline decreased after the first year. Risk for involuntary turnover was slightly higher in the 2-year analysis. The elevation in the rate of absence for smokers remained comparable in both periods. Although it is possible that the decline in the relative risk of accidents, injuries, and discipline may reflect changes in smoking status, we were unable to obtain follow-up data on smoking status to test this hypothesis.

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