Wellness plans have long been touted as one way corporate America can engage meaningfully in the smoking cessation campaign. But evidence from a recent survey of wellness plan participants suggests such plans are not truly addressing the issue.
Two-thirds said their plans don't include a nicotine test, and more than half said their plans don't address smoking cessation at all. Even more discouraging news from the survey: Just 11 percent of respondents say they took advantage of smoking cessation services, although a third of them say they had recently smoked tobacco.
Respondents overwhelmingly say they probably wouldn't even take part in a plan's smoking cessation program unless they were offered some sort of financial incentive. The survey results reveal a major mismatch there, for it found that only 34 percent of plans offered such incentives.
Money is clearly an issue when it comes to the topic of smoking.
While smokers say they won't try to quit without getting a financial reward, more than half of survey respondents say they felt smokers should be forced to pay extra for their company-sponsored health coverage to help cover the extra cost of treating smoking-related diseases.
"Even a small reduction in smoking within a population can have a huge impact on lowering population health care costs. The most effective programs use clinical data to identify those who smoke. The programs can then deliver personalized recommendations and incentives to empower smokers to quit," says Bryce Williams, CEO and president of HealthMine.