Ever since the economy took a dive at the end of 2008 and the start of 2009, employers of all sizes have been searching for ways to save money. We have all read the news about program cutbacks, employee layoffs, benefit reductions and even businesses closing.
"Everyone is scared of finding a job and keeping it, regardless of how much better the media claims our economy is getting as a nation," said Chris Shuck, director of the Putnam County Tobacco Cessation Program.
Shuck, who took over the director's position for the county's tobacco prevention program in March, says he has found great success working with employers on employee wellness programs.
What does that mean? It means discussing tobacco cessation systems, health plans and social changes in working environments to improve employee productivity and health.
"Employers understand that health insurance for their staff is a huge mark on the bottom line," Shuck said. "The Center for Disease Control estimates that an employee that uses tobacco will cost an employer $3,391 per year in lost productivity and direct medical costs. I think we can all recognize the cost savings there."
Let's look at the math: The average tobacco use rate within a company in Indiana is 23 percent. In a company of 100 employees, that means that 23 employees would use tobacco of some kind. Multiply 23 by the statistic provided by the CDC, $3,391, and it equates to $77,993 in lost productivity and direct medical costs.
"Find me an employer that wouldn't like to have that money back in the bottom line," Shuck said.
Since the Putnam County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program was renewed in July this year, the coalition has been working to reach out to employers of all sizes and offer cessation services.
Employers can have presentations given to employees, coordinate plans through human resources, offer special employee access to the Indiana Quit Line and much more, all through Putnam County's TPC.
"When I am able to partner with an employer and provide access to the Quit Line for employees there are tremendous benefits. Employees can get offered up to one month of nicotine replacement therapy, special counseling services, and a personalized quit plan that they can work through at their own pace. The program benefits everyone." Shuck said. "And it's free."
Businesses that are choosing to be smoke-free are reporting increased patronage, happier staff and visitors that stay longer. Healthier environments mean healthier economies.
Employers interested in speaking to Putnam County's TPC or employees who want to bring the program to their workplace can contact Shuck by email at email@example.com or call 655-2697.
Employers are also encouraged to visit www.quitnowindiana.com and click on the "Quit Now Preferred Employer" link at the bottom of the screen.