Smoking's bad for your career

Cigarette butts

TEXT OF STORY

LISA NAPOLI: You probably know smoking isn't good for your health, but now there's a study that shows it's not good for your career. At least not if you're a woman in the Navy. From the Health Desk at WGBH, Helen Palmer looks a just published report in the journal Tobacco Control.


HELEN PALMER: When they entered the Navy, 5,500 women recruits were classified as daily, occasional or never smokers. Those classifications accurately predicted their career performance over the next eight years.
TERRI CONWAY: Particularly daily smokers are not performing as well. They're more likely to not complete their term of enlistment. They have more demotions, more discharges that are not honorable.

Terri Conway of San Diego State University says non-smokers earned more and reached a higher rank. Conway says that smoking may be an indicator of other personality traits that affect performance — like being impulsive, or a risk taker.

CONWAY: Or maybe smokers just, you know, aren't working as many hours a day as never-smokers are.

Conway says it could be cost-effective to try and help new recruits quit. The extra training cost caused by military smokers leaving the service early is about $130 million a year.

In Boston, I'm Helen Palmer for Marketplace.

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