Helping Employees Kick the Habit Saves Money

Helping employees stop smoking provides bottom-line benefits for employers while improving the health of the workforce.

An increasing number of employers are investing in smoking cessation programs to support transitions to a smoke-free environment. The economic benefits of increased productivity and decreased absenteeism quickly offset the costs of these programs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates each smoker costs employers $3,400 per year in lost productivity and excess medical expenditures. This supports American Cancer Society statistics that show employees who smoke have an average insured payment for healthcare of $1,145 compared to $762 for nonsmoking employees.

Missouri has the 11th-highest smoking rate in the nation, with nearly 21 percent of adults falling into this category. Even more concerning to employers is the smoking rate among pregnant women in Missouri, in which one in every six pregnant women smokes. This rate is 64 percent higher than the national average and results in an increase in infant health risks.

Here are some of the bottom-line reasons employers benefit when their employees quit smoking:

  • The average smoking employee spends the equivalent of 18 days per year on smoking breaks
  • Cost analyses have shown tobacco cessation benefits pay for themselves and save the company money within a few years
  • Smokers miss work due to sickness approximately 30 percent more often than nonsmokers
  • Smoking is a primary risk factor for a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes

For more information about Saint Francis Medical Center’s Freedom From Smoking program, please call Chad Clippard, referral services manager, at 573-331-3019.