Press enter to see results or esc to cancel.

Why should employers offer smoking cessation programs?

You might be wondering: “Why should employers offer smoking cessation programs?”. While smoking is a dangerous habit that poses a number of health risks, the decision of whether or not to smoke is a deeply personal one. In this Pacific Prime article, we’ll tell you all you need to know about this latest employee wellness initiative and why it’s becoming increasingly popular in the workplace. 

Discover the world's top health insurers.
Compare quotes with a click of the button.

Health risks of smoking and second-hand smoking

Smoking can lead to disease and disability and harm almost every organ in the body, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This includes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In addition, it also increases the risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis. 

The health risks from second-hand smoking (or the act of simply being around those who are smoking) are also just as severe. Did you know that second-hand smoking causes an estimated 41,000 adult deaths per year in the US? To put that number into perspective, there are more than 480,000 adult deaths per year in the US as a result of both smoking and second-hand smoking. 

Note: In fact, there can also be third-hand smoke. This occurs when cancer-causing residue from tobacco smoke sticks to surfaces like carpets and walls. The residue tends to linger for weeks and months, and re-enter the air. Children and pets are the most vulnerable to third-hand smoke. 

Almost half of the employers plan to tackle smoking

In a study titled “Attitudes Towards Tobacco Use in the Workplace”, digital health company Pivot found that 48% of employers ranked smoking cessation in their top three priorities for 2022. This is partly due to the fact that employees are smoking (and vaping) on the job, which is in itself a reflection of the explosion in the use of vapes and a result of the stressors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As a whopping 96% of employees who use tobacco do so while on the job, there can be health consequences not only to them but also to those around them via second-hand smoking. The increased healthcare claims and decreased productivity as a result costs an employer an extra USD $9,000 per tobacco user per year. What’s more, tobacco use in the workplace can also put a dent in the company brand and put off non-smokers from working there. 

What about smokers, you may be thinking? Surely, they’d want to continue smoking in the workplace? Believe it or not, many employees who are smokers are likewise struggling to quit smoking and could do with some quit smoking incentives. In fact, 85% of employees who don’t have access to an employer-sponsored tobacco cessation program wish one was available. 

So, in conclusion, smoking cessation programs in the workplace bring two key benefits as outlined below:

  • It helps companies gain a name for themselves as employers who care about their employees’ wellbeing, which helps them attract the best candidates (both smokers and non-smokers). 
  • It results in healthier and happier employees, which lowers healthcare claims and increases productivity  all to the benefit of the company’s bottom line. In other words, companies will have seen a return-on-investment (ROI) on smoking cessation programs. 

Ideas for smoking cessation programs in the workplace

So, where do you begin with smoking cessation programs? Traditional smoking cessation programs typically involve a series of seminars that provide expert education and support employees who want to quit smoking. Another popular smoking cessation program includes making nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) free to employees. This may come in the form of nicotine patches, nicotine gum, or inhalators. 

More recently, digital approaches such as the Quit Genius smoking cessation program have also become more popular. While traditional smoking cessation programs may not be compatible with employees’ schedule and, thus, sees many dropouts, digital approaches are more flexible and give employees plenty of opportunities to engage. These programs are best designed with evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Get in touch with Pacific Prime today!

Whether you already have an employee benefits program or are looking to offer one, Pacific Prime is your best bet. As a global health insurance broker and employee benefits specialist, we work with companies of all sizes and industries, and utilize state-of-the-art technology to help you design, implement, manage, and optimize a program that’s tailored to your organizational goals. 

To learn more about our tailored, technology-driven approach and our employee benefits solutions, you’re welcome to arrange a free consultation with a member of our corporate team today!

Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Suphanida is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, an award-winning global health insurance and employee benefits specialist.

With over 5 years of experience in the field, Suphanida spends the majority of her day synthesizing complex pieces of insurance-related information and translating this into easy-to-understand, engaging, and effective content across a variety of media such as articles, infographics, whitepapers, videos, and more.

Suphanida is also responsible for planning and publishing three whitepapers released annually by Pacific Prime: The State of Health Insurance Report, The Cost of Health Insurance Report, and The Global Employee Benefits Trends Report. Additionally, she handles the LinkedIn profiles of Pacific Prime’s Founder and CEO, as well as Global HR Lead.

Suphanida’s strengths lie in her strong research and analytical skills, which she has gained from her BA in Politics from the University of Warwick and Erasmus Mundus Joint MA in Journalism from Aarhus University and City, University of London.

Being of Thai-Indian origin and having lived, studied, and worked in Thailand, the UK, and Denmark, Suphanida also has a unique, multicultural perspective that helps her understand the struggles of expats and globetrotters.

Outside of work, she enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
Suphanida Thakral