The Real Waste of Smoking
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As you know, there are significant health and financial costs associated with tobacco use. In addition to the physical and emotional distress brought on by tobacco-related diseases and deaths, tobacco users often incur greater costs for health care and life insurance, increased absenteeism and lower productivity than non-users. Additionally, in the waste and recycling industries, being outside for extended periods of time may increase temptation to smoke. Employers can attempt to combat the negative health and economic effects of tobacco use by adding tobacco-use cessation treatment to their employee benefits programs.
- Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death. In fact, smoking is responsible for roughly one in five deaths each year in the United States.
- Over 600,000 nonsmokers are killed by secondhand smoke each year.
- A significant amount of time is lost from business due to smoking breaks and the illnesses and fatalities that are caused by smoking, as smokers are more likely to suffer disabilities, more likely to miss work and less productive than nonsmokers.
- On average, health care expenses and lost productivity due to smoking cigarettes cost a staggering $193 billion each year in the United States alone.
- Other business-related costs of smoking include Workers’ Compensation claims, accidents, fires, and cleaning and maintenance.
For businesses, making an investment in tobacco cessation benefits not only improves employee health but also reduces the costs associated with tobacco use. In fact, paying for tobacco-use cessation treatment is the single most cost-effective health insurance benefit for adults that can be provided to employees, and is considered the benefit with the most positive impact on health.
Employer Strategies for Promoting Tobacco Use Cessation
Smoking is an addiction that often requires repeated attempts and professional intervention to overcome. Because many successful interventions require medical attention, it’s necessary for most employees to have these services covered as part of their health benefit in order to participate. Under the federal health care reform law, many (but not all) health plans are required to provide tobacco-use screening for all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users, without cost-sharing.
For more information on whether a cessation program is included in your current benefits plan or to get help creating one, call us! We can help.
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