How to Reduce Frequent Employee Smoke Breaks

Do you have employee’s who smoke? Did you know that annual health care costs for smokers are 31 percent higher on average than non smokers? With today’s raising health care costs, every company should be asking this question and every company should be developing a cost saving plan to reduce the costs associated with smoking.

A  recent study from the American Cancer Society revealed that  when a smoker is hospitalized their average stay is longer than a non smoker resulting in a higher medical bill to the employer and the patient. Smokers also made six more visits to health care facilities per year when compared to non smokers.

How can you change this  for your company? Here are some tools you can use to  provide a comprehensive smoking cessation program to your employees and in turn save you millions  in  associated health care costs:

  • Let your employees can help themselves by providing them with smoking cessation brochures in public places
  • Provide information on the affects of smoking through employee newsletters and intranets
  • Offer telephone based counseling for those employees interested in quitting.
  • Provide on line information on smoking cessation to your employees
  • Consider implementing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides counseling and support
  • Train existing staff members to teach cessation programs
  • Develop incentive plans for those employees who quit smoking
  • Offer low or no cost co-pays for smoking related medications
  • Sponsor an on site support group, for those trying to quit
  • Conduct brief seminars on the effects of smoking
  • Sponsor special events around other healthy changes: such as weight loss and exercise programs
  • Offer Health Risk Appraisals
  • Create a non smoking environment by posting the new policy and enforcing the new policy

Awareness of the costs associated with smokers is growing and causing many state and local governments to mandate workplace smoke free policies. It is in the best interest of employer’s bottom line to formulate a voluntary, proactive and prevention oriented approach to this growing, costly health concern.