Get Started - For Business

Why should businesses care about comprehensive tobacco dependency treatment?

Smoking costs Florida $19.6 billion a year in workplace productivity losses, premature deaths and direct healthcare expenditures. {1} Even though you might have already thought about tobacco policies in your business (such as smokefree workplaces or designated smoking areas) smoking also impacts your bottom line in other ways. The additional annual cost to employers due to lost productivity and medical expenses is roughly $3,400 per smoker {2}.  More information on the cost to employers.

The good news is that 70% of smokers want to quit, and a comprehensive approach to treatment is the most effective method for them to quit and stay quit. Below we outline simple, low to no-cost things businesses can do help their employees quit smoking for good. We also invite you to view these great examples of how other companies have provided tobacco dependency treatment which made their employees' healthier and improved the bottom line.

These case strategies explain what companies like Sprint, Dow Chemical Company and Union Pacific are doing to encourage their employees to be tobacco free.

How can businesses improve comprehensive tobacco dependency treatment coverage in Florida?

  • Learn more about the importance of providing coverage for comprehensive tobacco dependency treatment in employees’ health benefits,and how it can improve employees heath and a business' bottom line.
  • Collaborate with local wellness boards and local tobacco partnerships to promote comprehensive tobacco dependency treatment.
  • Educate employees about the contents of their health insurance plans and benefits packages specifically as it relates to tobacco dependency treatment.
  • Designate an employee champion who is focused on workplace wellness and ensures comprehensive tobacco dependency treatment is included in programming, employer benefits packages and links employees to resources.

1. American Lung Association, Smoking Cessation: The Economic Benefits. September 14, 2010. www.lungusa.org/cessationbenefits

2. Based on 2002 dollars. CDC. Reimbursement Brochure. Accessed April 8, 2008.

Get Started - CollaborateCollaborate with local wellness boards and local tobacco partnerships to promote comprehensive tobacco dependency treatment.

Many local areas have wellness boards or other collaborative groups that work together to create a healthier community. They have a wealth of information on resources, projects and ideas that you can implement at the company-wide level to help your employees get fit, eat healthy and quit smoking.

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  • Best Practices: Leon County created Working Well to promote wellness in their workforce. Their website has many resources, event listings and evaluation methods.Similarly, the First Coast Worksite Wellness Council is an intiative of Healthy Jacksonville 2020 and has a workplace wellness recognition program for employers.
  • Tobacco Control Policies in the Workplace: Action To Quit's Engaging Employers in Tobacco Control is an excellent source of resources for employers-- including case studies and intervention methods. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a Implementing a Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative in Your Workplace which includes components on assessment, planning, promotion and implementation.

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Get Started - Educate EmployeesUnderstanding the value of providing comprehensive tobacco dependency treatment is important. But educating your employees about using the benefit is just as vital to your bottom line. Activities like encouraging your employees to set up a quit smoking plan with a physician, providing support to employees throughout a quit smoking attempt and gathering feedback on your coverage to ensure employee's find it easy to use will go a long way in helping your employees quit and improving your bottom line.

Two important elements when implementing tobacco dependency coverage in your health insurance plan are providing your employees with as few barriers as possible (expensive co-pays, caps on quit attempts, limited counseling) and the full range of treatments as outlined by the US Public Health Service. One size does not fit all when it comes to quitting smoking, and often the most successful quitters are those that used several treatment methods.

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Get Started - Workplace WellnessDesignate an employee champion who is focused on workplace wellness and comprehensive tobacco dependency treatment.

It's great to have a tobacco dependency treatment benefit, but it won't help your employees or your bottom line unless they use it to break nicotine's deadly addiction (The National Business Group on Health has a great website that delves into Increasing Tobacco Cessation Benefit Utilization). Many companies, large and small, have found success with wellness initiatives by designating an employee champion or establishing an employee wellness program, council or board.

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Get Started - Learn MoreWhy is providing coverage for tobacco dependency important?

Providing coverage for tobacco dependence to your employees who smoke is the right thing to do because smoking will decrease their life expectancy and causes a variety of illnesses. But more importantly, employees who smoke impact your bottom line. Read a good overview of what impact smoking has on your bottom line.

Providing comprehensive tobacco dependency treatment, thereby effectively helping your employees break nicotine's deadly habit, translates into less absences at work, decreased medical bills and less time they spend in the hospital. And smoking cessation is as cost-effective as childhood immunizations and daily aspirin use in high-risk adults. In fact, tobacco dependency treatment is more cost-effective than other frequently covered adult-disease-prevention interventions (e.g. hypertension, high cholesterol).

If you are considering adding a tobacco dependency treatment to your current health benefits for employees, discuss your options with your health plan. This type of treatment is often included in plans as a rider, which can be purchased seperately for your employees. This type of coverage is very cost-effective and has a substantial ROI. If tobacco dependency treatment cannot be included as a standard health benefit, consider offering reimbursement to employees for the cost of physician visits and medications.

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