Smoking Hot, NOT!
I smoked either multiple cigars or cigarettes for just over 7,300 consecutive days. Quitting was easily the hardest thing I have ever done. Even now, almost 1,000 days later, I can't believe I don't smoke anymore. I will let the doctors and other experts speak as to why you shouldn't smoke for health reasons. But, if you are a smoker you already know it's bad for your health, you don't need to hear that again. Rather, I will try to reaffirm what you already know anyway: smoking is bad for your career. Yes, I said it.
In the BANISHTM Smoke Odor Survey, nearly three-quarters (72%) of the sales professionals in the survey said regularly smelling of tobacco smoke could hurt a person's career. In addition, more than 40 percent of the sales professionals in the survey who had been in a hiring situation with a candidate who smelled of smoke indicated that smelling of smoke in a job interview reflected poorly on the candidate. Top those two stats off with this one from the same survey: Smoky clothes and hair annoy nearly 90 percent of Americans.
The most important factor is smoke odor. It's hard to get rid of. It's in your hair, on your clothes, hands, car, breath. The problem with smoke odor is that the smoker can't smell the odor on themselves. Many of the smokers I know don't like to smell smoke on someone else, and they smoke. I could barely smell anything for two decades. Now I can smell a smoker from the other side of the long side of a conference table. When I am having a conversation with a smoker I have to make a special effort to pay attention to what they are saying because all that is running through my mind is, "Did I really smell like this?"
This post may offend many of you that smoke. But, as a former long-term smoker, I doubt it. You already know it's true. You know you smell to nonsmokers. That's why you roll down the window and blow the smoke hard out; it's why you take your suit jacket off (of put another jacket on) when you take a smoke break; it's why you chew gum, eat mints, and use all kinds of deodorizers. You do all this not because the smoke smell bothers you, but because you want to make it less bothersome to others. Or to put it bluntly: you make yourself smell bad on purpose but then try to make yourself smell not as bad. You can't not take a shower for a week, throw on some deodorant, and expect no one will notice.
The tide in business has turned against smokers. Smokers are negatively perceived by the vast majority of people. If this is true, and it is, then that means a majority of your supervisors, employees, and customers have a negative perception (of some kind) of you since you smoke. If you are a smoker, I can't imagine any one thing that you can control that will improve your career right now more than stopping.
Besides the smoke odor, there are now other workplace perceptions of smokers that are on the rise. Smokers are looked at more now than ever as having weak self discipline. Smokers are looked at as adding to the costs of the company health plan premiums. Smokers are even looked at less intelligent, although there are plenty of exceptions to this. A collective resentment of smokers is growing. The American Cancer Society estimates that cigarette smokers are absent from work 6.5 days per year more than nonsmokers and approximately 8% of a smoker's working hours are spent on smoking. Employees that smoke have about twice as much lost production time per week than nonsmokers.
So, I know you're hard headed. I know that you are truly addicted. I know that it doesn't matter what anyone else says or does. This is your decision and yours alone. You will never be able to quit until you are ready to really quit. But, I hope for maybe a few of you this was the straw that broke the camel's back and you find the strength and the will to free yourself of this powerful and destructive oppressor.