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New Survey Shows Majority of Employers Rank Smoking as One of Their Greatest Priority Health Issues, But Only 2 Percent Provide Comprehensive Smoking Cessation Benefits for Employees
Date:10/25/2007

Employers are most likely to offer two of five CDC-recommended smoking

cessation benefits components

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A nationwide survey of employers released today shows that a majority of employers ranked smoking as one of the greatest priority health issues facing their companies, second only to obesity, but only two percent offer the comprehensive benefit recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (1) The results were announced at a plenary session at the National Business Group on Health/Integrated Benefits Institute Joint Forum on Health, Productivity & Absence Management.

"It's encouraging that companies recognize smoking as a top priority. Nicotine addiction from smoking is a chronic, relapsing medical condition that studies have shown is best treated with a combination of medication and counseling," said Ron Finch, vice president at the Business Group. "Employers are beginning to recognize that tobacco use is the low hanging fruit relative to employee health status and health care cost, but few have implemented evidence-based tobacco cessation benefits."

The survey of 506 companies with 1,000 or more employees explored employers' understanding and perceptions of the business impact of smoking, as well as the barriers to implementing comprehensive smoking cessation benefits.

Costs of Smoking to Employers a Major Concern

Employers' greatest priority health issues were obesity (54 percent), smoking (51 percent) and high blood pressure (47 percent). (1) Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents said that they believe providing employees with smoking cessation benefits can help improve employee health (78 percent) and decrease health care costs (74 percent).(1) Seventy percent of employers viewed offering smoking cessation benefits as the "most valuable" way to encourage employees to quit smoking.(1) Indeed, 85 percent of employers agreed that providing
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SOURCE National Business Group on Health
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