Given that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable cancers, let’s hope that 2018 sees a record number of smokers making New Year’s resolutions to quit. Many employers are sending a message that smoking is not OK. Mercer’s National Survey found that in 54% of organizations with 500 or more employees, smoking is not permitted anywhere on the work campus. In addition, 22% of employers of this size vary the health plan premium contribution based on employees’ tobacco use (among employers with 20,000 or more employees, this rises to 41%). The median annual reduction in premium per employee for non-tobacco use is $520. Most of these employers (88%) rely on the honor system (including affidavit) or peer-policing to verify employees’ tobacco-use status. Only 10% use cotinine testing.
Quitting smoking is hard – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Is your organization doing all it can to support employees as they try to break this addiction? Keep in mind that it usually takes 2-5 attempts to succeed, so it’s important that there are no limits on the quit program benefits. New mobile apps and online smoking cessation programs are showing encouraging results and are certainly worth considering if you haven’t yet. Why not make that your New Year’s resolution?