Many US businesses are seeking to reduce their medical bills by paying for programs to help employees stop smoking. Recent surveys show that one-third of companies with at least 200 workers now offer smoking cessation as part of their employee benefits package. Among the US’s biggest companies, the number may be nearly two-thirds of employers.
Other corporate wellness efforts like weight management and diabetes control are ways that private employers are taking health care reform into their own hands, even as politicians continue to prevaricate. For businesses, it is the bottom-line that counts: $900 or so to give free nicotine patches and phone sessions with smoking addiction counselors, more than offsets the estimated $16,000 or more in additional lifetime medical bills that a typical smoker generates. And that federal figure does not count the costs of absenteeism or the drain on productivity when smokers periodically duck outside for a cigarette.
Smoking’s toll is not just the bottom-line. It is blamed for 435,000 premature deaths in the US each year, and it adds more than $75 billion to US annual spending on health care.
Thanks Allen Carr.