Corporate leaders today are well aware that rising health care costs are one of the biggest threats to their bottom lines. What is not as well known is the significant role of smoking and other tobacco use in driving these costs. In fact, tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Business bears the burden of tobacco caused illness — and the resulting health care bills — among employees, family members and even retirees. Reducing tobacco use and its preventable costs is critical to optimizing profits and improving worker health and productivity.
Smoking harms virtually every organ in the body, causing multiple cancers, heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases and numerous other ailments.
- It’s no surprise then that smoking-related illness results in almost $100 billion in health care costs each and every year, and business bears much of that burden.
- Private insurance pays for nearly 50 percent of smoking-related medical costs for people ages 19 to 64.
- Even though they live significantly shorter lives, smokers on average incur $15,000 to $17,000 more in lifetime health care costs than non-smokers.
Healthier workers are more productive workers, and it is clear that non-smokers are healthier workers.
- Smokers are absent from work seven to 10 more days per year than non-smokers.
- A study of current, former and never smokers over time showed that current smokers had significantly greater absenteeism than never smokers, with former smokers in between. Former smokers also showed an improvement over time in productivity measures, compared to current smokers.
- Smoke breaks are disruptive, take time away from work and may be viewed as unfair by fellow workers. One survey found that three 15-minute smoking breaks a day amounted to a full year of a worker’s life spent smoking.
Benchmarking/Assessment: Assessing the needs and priorities of your population in order to see where you are and where you want to get.
Supportive Environment: Providing an environment in which organizational values, policies, norms, and initiatives support a healthy work culture.
Integration: Making sure health promotion programs are embedded effectively within the structure of the organization.
Linkage: Linking health strategies and interventions to other employee support services to optimize reach and effectiveness.
Health Education: Implementing health promotion activities, interventions, strategies and programs that are evidence based and targeted to the needs of your employees.
Evaluation: Evaluating the impact of your activities to see if you are creating the change and achieving the outcomes you had hoped for.