Guest Blog: Tobacco Free Vigo Coalition
The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome guest blogger Sarah Knoblock, Vigo County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coordinator. Learn more about programs offered in Vigo County, along with the mission of Tobacco Free Vigo.
Program Improves Employee Health
If there is a silver lining to the pandemic, it is that workplace safety has been in the forefront of most employers’ minds. The Tobacco Quitline is a completely free program from the Indiana Department of Health for all Hoosiers who want to quit any type of tobacco or nicotine product.
Businesses are constantly looking for ways to cut costs and increase productivity, and employee health can substantially impact a business’s bottom line. Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death and
disease in the United States. In Indiana, smoking takes the lives of 11,100 Hoosiers each year and significantly impacts the economic vitality of our state.
What Tobacco Costs Employers:
Healthcare and Lost Productivity
The annual cost to employers of a smoking employee is estimated to be $5,800 higher than a non-smoking employee. This includes:
Over $2,000 more in healthcare costs
Over $3,500 more in lost productivity
Increased Risk of Occupational Health Hazards
Smoking and secondhand smoke exposure may make employees more vulnerable to health hazards from occupational exposure to other substances such as dusts, gases, or fumes.
Fire and Injury Risk
Smoking at the workplace, including in vehicles, can increase the risk of fires and injuries. The increased fire and injury risk for worksites where smoking is allowed can increase health and building insurance costs by up to 30%.
What Employers Can Do to Reduce Their Tobacco Burden
Making your worksite tobacco and vape free, including grounds and vehicles, can lower the risk of fires and injuries and may reduce maintenance costs and insurance premiums. Workplace smoke-free policies can also help reduce smoking among workers.
Cover Cessation Benefits
Offering health insurance that covers cessation benefits, such as approved medication and counseling, with little or no co-pays can help employees access the help they need to quit tobacco.
Connect Employees with Cessation Resources
The Indiana Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW, www.QuitNowIndiana.com) is a free telephone, web, and text counseling service that provides evidence-based coaching and support to Hoosiers who want to quit tobacco/nicotine. To order Quitline materials, please visit https://www.quitnowindiana.com/employer-materials and complete the online order form.
Become a Quit Now Preferred Employer
By joining the Indiana Quit Now Preferred Employer Network, employers have access to free resources and services to help employees quit tobacco/nicotine. Visit https://www.quitnowindiana.com/preferred-employer for
more information about how to become a preferred employer.
Tobacco Free Vigo is available for presentations for your HR team, organization, and staff. If you any questions or want help signing up as a Preferred Employer, contact Sarah Knoblock at email@example.com or