How to Help Your Employees Quit Smoking  

Blues Perspectives

| 3 min read

Women taking a smoke break outside their office
Nearly 70% of smokers say they want to stop. But only about 6% succeed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking is a costly habit for workers – $2,300 a year to supply a pack-a-day habit – and for employers. Employees who smoke can cost a company $5,800 a year due to productivity lost on smoke breaks, and health care costs. Employers have a valuable role to play in helping their employees quit smoking cigarettes and other tobacco and nicotine products – and research has shown that employer-backed initiatives work. There are some strategies to enact at the workplace to help your employees kick the habit:
  • Make your workplace and property tobacco-free
  • Have all employees take a health risk appraisals
  • Enroll in a wellness program that offers tobacco cessation coaching or counseling
  • Ensure your health plan has benefits for tobacco cessation
  • Consider paying for the out-of-pocket or copay cost for employees to engage in tobacco cessation programs through their health insurance
Many companies use financial incentives for employees to encourage them to quit, or attempt to quit, including discounts and surcharges. About 16% of employers offered a discount on health insurance premiums to workers who don’t use tobacco products in 2018, and 18% of imposed a surcharge for smokers in 2018, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. But there’s more ways than incentive programs to help your workers quit nicotine products. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are here to help, with various options for members. All Blue Cross and BCN members with medical coverage have access to Tobacco Coaching, powered by WebMD®. WebMD health coaches are available seven days a week, so it’s easy for members to schedule coaching appointments that work with their schedules. Members can call 1-855-326-5102 to speak to a health coach and schedule their first coaching call. Blue Cross and BCN members who would like to quit using tobacco, but who aren’t ready to set a quit date in the next 30 days, will be referred to the Quit Tobacco Digital Health Assistant program that’s available through the Blue Cross Health & Well-BeingSM website when members log in to The Health & Well-Being website offers a number of additional programs to help keep your business cost-effective while investing in the health and happiness of employees. Those include an online health assessment, Digital Health Assistant programs, online health trackers and a personal health record. More from MIBluesPerspectives:
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MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association