The rate of people trying to quit smoking dropped for the first time in a decade during the COVID-19 pandemic, a trend researchers attributed to stress caused by the pandemic. Now more than ever, there’s a need to engage your employees who smoke in evidence-based quitting strategies and to offer them support in their quit attempts.
Smoking doesn’t just take a tragic toll on an employee’s health; employees who smoke impose significant costs on employers. Smoking costs the United States nearly $300 billion each year, including nearly $170 billion in medical care and more than $150 billion in lost productivity. An individual smoker can cost his or her employer up to $6,000 annually.
Smoking can squeeze a business’ earnings due to:
About 12.5% of American adults smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That number may seem small, but in a staff of 200 people, smoking could cost a business as much as $150,000 a year.
Smoking increases the risk for many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes, but it can also take a serious toll on oral health. The damage includes:
November is the perfect time to encourage your employees who smoke to attempt to quit. Each year on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society challenges smokers to give up smoking for 24 hours for the Great American Smokeout. In 2022, the event falls on November 17.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy. Cessation often requires long-term support and encouragement. To give your employees the best chance of quitting and remaining smoke-free, you’ll need to provide them with the facts: what they’re up against, what their options are and where to go for help.
Use the following resources as reminders and encouragement:
It’s also important to remind your employees to take advantage of the regular exams and cleanings available under their Delta Dental plan. A dentist can catch the harmful effects of smoking early and can also prescribe cessation medication.