KCBS_740 STANFORD (KCBS) — If you’re a smoker, your habit may be burning your job prospects.

There is new evidence that smokers not only have a tougher time finding a job, they also earn substantially less once they’re hired.

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Subjects for the study were followed for a year, and researchers used statistical tools to account for the differences many people already know exist between smokers and non-smokers – like age, income, education, and race.

After a year, only 27 percent of smokers had found work, while 56 percent of non-smokers found work.

Dr. Judith Prochaska with the Stanford Prevention Research Center told KCBS that she has some theories as to why this is happening.

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“We did find when we interviewed the smokers that they prioritized spending on tobacco more so than other factors that might help their job search,” Prochaska said.

Those other factors might mean smokers are buying cigarettes instead of getting a haircut, or maybe saving for new clothes.

Prochaska’s next study is looking at the opposite side of the equation. Job managers say job seekers are at a disadvantage if they smell of smoke.

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Smoke breaks may also be a concern for potential employers, Prochaska said.