Cape Gazette
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Help employees quit smoking

Great new year's resolution for business owners
Dec 20, 2013
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Business owners can start 2014 out in a healthy and profitable manner by helping their employees quit smoking.

“Helping smokers quit saves lives and curbs healthcare costs,” said Deborah Brown, CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic. “Delaware’s economic costs due to smoking are $678,008,000. Workers can claim unemployment or disability due to smoking. Unemployment and disability costs will cost your company more money.”

The American Lung Association offers many resources to help employers adopt and implement workplace policies that support a healthy work environment while providing health education resources to support lung health. Making the decision to focus on improving air quality indoors and providing resources for employees who smoke or are living with a chronic lung disease will curb rising healthcare costs, help employees adopt healthier lifestyles, and lower the risk of developing costly chronic diseases.

To check how lung-friendly the workplace is, owners can ask themselves these questions:  Are chemicals and allergens controlled to ensure the safety of employees while at work? Is work-related asthma documented in order to identify trends and address problems in specific industries? Is the workplace smoke free?

Does employee health insurance coverage include a comprehensive plan to ensure access to healthcare services, medications and supplies that keep symptoms under control, while also offering smoking cessation support?

Employers can also act to create a healthy workplace. The ALA’s Guide to Safe & Healthy Workplaces Toolkit includes policy recommendations for addressing lung health in the workplace, along with the implementation strategies, tools and information that can support employers' efforts.

The Freedom From Smoking program has three delivery options: online, telephone counseling and in-person clinics. The online option is a self-paced program ideal for off-site employees or smokers who prefer this method of learning.

The Lung HelpLine telephone option is staffed by certified counselors who are registered nurses and respiratory therapists with extensive training and experience in smoking cessation programs.

The in-person clinic option is delivered in a small-group setting to give participants personalized attention and the support of their peers. A clinic is eight sessions over a seven-week period and includes lectures, group discussion and skill practice.

For more information about the American Lung Association, call 1-800-LUNG-USA, 1-800-586-4872, or go to www.lungusa.org.

 

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