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Providing smoke-free workplace and smoking cessation support leads to health and economic benefits for both employers and insurers. Workplace-based cessation programs constitute a good investment for employers and are cost-effective.

Workplace smoking bans reduce both smoking prevalence among adults and smoking intensity among those who continue to smoke. Workplace smoking bans in the US reduced smoking prevalence among adults by 5 percentage points while reducing cigarette consumption among continuing smokers by 10%. The benefits of smoke-free policies at work include lower insurance costs, increased productivity, lower hiring costs due to higher labor force longevity, lower building maintenance costs, and savings due to reduced employers' liabilities for the effect of second-hand smoke exposure on workers.
Workplace-based cessation programs constitute a good investment as they result in cost savings attributable to lower absenteeism rates and productivity gains.

A workplace-based cessation program in the US that consisted of two weekly meetings for a period of four weeks led to a company realizing savings in health-care costs and absenteeism and to reductions in workplace inefficiencies. The program cost US$600 for 20 people, in addition to 12 hours of time-off for attendees. The net present value of benefits for the company was between US$2,702 and US$27,989. Another workplace smoking cessation program in the US covered the costs of bupropion (a medication primarily used as an antidepressant and smoking cessation aid) and found that every US$1 spent on the program saved $5.04 to $6.48 in smoking-related health-care costs. This compares favorably to savings of between $4.10 and $4.69 for every dollar spent on workplace programs without bupropion coverage.

In the United States, changes to health insurance regulations made by the Affordable Care Act have mandated that smoking cessation therapy be provided in every compliant health insurance policy with no extra cost to the consumer. In 2013, 40% of US employers offered a smoking cessation program to their employees. 

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Fitch K, Iwasaki K, Pyenson B. Covering Smoking Cessation as a Health Benefit: A Case for Employers, Milliman, Inc. 2006.

Abrams DB, Graham AL, Levy DT, Mabry PL, Orleans CT. Boosting population quits through evidence-based cessation treatment and policy. Am J Prev Med. 2010; 38(S3): S351-S363.

Kaiser Family Foundation, Health Research & Education Trust. Employer Health Benefits 2013 Annual Survey.

American Lung Association. Tobacco Cessation Coverage - Helping Smokers Quit. 2012.

Evans WN, Farrelly MC, Montgomery E. Do workplace smoking bans reduce smoking? Am Econ Rev. 1999; 89: 728-747.

Fichtenberg CM. Glantz SA. Effect of smoke-free workplaces on smoking behavior: a systematic review. BMJ. 2002; 325: 188-191.

Halpern M, Khan Z, Young T, Battista C. Economic model of sustained-release bupropion hydrochloride in health plan and work site smoking-cessation programs. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2000; 57: 1421-1429. logo
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