What is it about a man who once smoked— but quit— that makes him so raffishly attractive to employers, not to mention chicks? I've often wondered that in my own idle moments, when not fending off advances from Fortune 500 recruiting officers. All science knows for sure: someone who's stopped smoking is a business powerhouse.

My theory (and it's not one of those "scientific" theories, but considering the fact that it's come from someone who used to smoke, and then stopped, I expect it be taken seriously by business analysts nationwide) is that people who have never smoked are considered too straight-arrow to ever display the boldness and out-of-the-box thinking necessary to succeed; people who still smoke are unhealthy addicts too weak to overcome a disturbingly Freudian oral fixation, and who will, besides, raise health insurance premiums for everybody; but people who once smoked and then quit display both the devil-may-care attitude that brands them as fearless risk-takers, and the heady sense of self-control necessary to pull themselves back from the edge on time. We're cool. We can hang out, guys. Don't let us stop you! We're cool.

I can only presume that the very latest research findings have, more or less, confirmed my theory. From the WSJ:

[Two] research economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta found that people who had quit smoking for at least a year earned higher wages than smokers and people who had never smoked. The data show that nonsmokers, which include never smokers and former smokers, bring in about 95% of the hourly wages of former smokers. Smokers, on the other hand, aren't rewarded as much in the workplace. They earned about 80% of nonsmokers' wages. Even one cigarette a day triggers a wage gap between smokers and nonsmokers, economists Julie L. Hotchkiss and M. Melinda Pitts write.

All this tells me is that the wage structure here at Gawker Media is very out-of-whack.

[WSJ. Photo: jocelyn/ Flickr]