Employee Tobacco Cessation Delivers Significant Savings

Employers can save $6,000 per year for every employee who quits smoking. Five ways to reinforce a “quit” culture, and how to identify a successful program.

According to the American Lung Association, employers are able to save $6,000 per year for every employee who quits smoking.*

As employers continue to lean toward healthier company cultures that eliminate health-related productivity liabilities such as tobacco dependence among employees, there are encouraging options available that incorporate the best evidence-based practices.

There’s a study that every U.S. employer might want to read. It shows that smoking is associated with significant work-related productivity loss in the United States. In part, it says that working smokers in the United States are estimated to miss an average of 2.3 more workdays annually than those who have never smoked, are less productive while at work, and the cost to companies is in the billions!**

Becoming a tobacco-free workplace is clearly an important business goal, but employers need help in meeting it. The study above goes on to encourage and promote the implementation of workplace cessation programs, with benefits that can be seen “rapidly after cessation.” According to the American Cancer Society, “getting help through counseling and medications doubles or even triples the chances of quitting successfully.”

Employers can help their employees quit

A structured, well-thought-out cessation program is a must for employers, considering tobacco products contain highly addictive nicotine that activates the reward system of the brain. As the nicotine decreases in the body, tobacco users want to vape, smoke, or dip again to feel the good sensation again. This causes the smoker to continue even when he or she actually wants to quit and understands the risks. Nearly 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit. Many people can cease smoking for a few days, but often relapse due to the physiological, emotional, and behavioral addiction.

As the studies indicate, programs that are most successful against the kinds of odds posed by tobacco addiction are those that use a combination of cessation strategies. Some of the highest quit rates emerge from programs that combine cognitive therapy, telephone coaching support, and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).*** This is the approach used in the BeneQUIT Tobacco Cessation program, available through BeneFIT Corporate Wellness.

“Among all of our program participants since our program’s inception, 86% of participants that enroll completed the program, and 71% reported being tobacco-free 30 days after the program’s completion,” says Christie Lanasa, TTS, RN, ED.S, NBC-HWC, Tobacco Treatment Specialist and Health Coach.

The outcomes seen with BeneQUIT, according to Lanasa, are a result of providing participants with the individualized support they need from someone specifically trained as a Tobacco Treatment Specialist. Together, she and her clients explore NRT options and what might be the best fit. Regular coaching sessions give participants the continuing support they need to avoid relapse. “We help our clients lean on new stress management strategies, problem-solving techniques, and reminders of their reasons for quitting. Regular communication helps clients stay focused and keep their well-being and health foremost in their minds.”

Five ways employers can reinforce a “quit” culture

Whether starting a tobacco cessation program now or later, there are steps employers can take to begin to create a healthier workplace culture inside and outside of their company. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Establish a tobacco-free policy at the workplace. A policy should encompass all forms of tobacco, including chewing tobacco, cigars, and e-cigarettes. Make sure that you incorporate employee feedback in making the policy and consequences for violation, and communicate the policy to all employees well ahead of implementation. Be sure to allow plenty of time for employees to prepare before implementing a change and offer a tobacco cessation resource such as BeneQUIT for those that need assistance.
  2. Make your property tobacco free. If you already have a tobacco-free policy in place, consider expanding it to doorways, in company vehicles, and in your parking lots.
  3. Engage a program that includes tobacco cessation coaching and NRT. One-on-one tobacco cessation coaching coupled with other modalities can bolster success rates
  4. Educate employees. Provide information about resources to quit tobacco and health risks at health fairs, in newsletters, in benefit promos, and in payroll stuffers. Repetition works!
  5. Make related support tools available. When smokers are quitting, the withdrawal period is often accompanied by unpleasant side effects. Consider making other support services such as stress management training, health coaching, nutrition counseling, and exercise programs available.

Reach out for more information on successful smoking cessation as well as other well-being services.

* https://www.lung.org/support-and-community/corporate-wellness/help-employees-stop-smoking.html
** https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5299499/
*** https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes/what-are-treatments-tobacco-dependence
Source: https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html

BeneQUIT Tobacco Cessation Program

If you have employees trying to stop smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes, the CDC recommends evidence based treatments including counseling and FDA-approved medications. Our program is a resource based on these methods that employers can use to support employees who want to quit. 

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