Benefits | Tobacco Use Cessation Interventions

Health benefits to support tobacco-use cessation1-4

Employee health benefits are part of an overall compensation package and affect an employee’s willingness to seek preventive services and clinical care.

Full employee benefits for clinical counseling and pharmaceutical treatment will increase employee follow-up on referrals for tobacco use

  • Even brief (3 minutes) counseling sessions at each clinical encounter are effective in reducing smoking rates
  • Intensive counseling is even more effective, with individual, group or telephone counseling. Problem solving skills training is an important aspect of intensive or telephone counseling
  • Food and Drug Administration-approved medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription (e.g., nicotine patches) have demonstrated effectiveness and should be covered in benefit programs
  • All tobacco users may require multiple quit attempts (8 to 11) before they are ultimately successful. Employees with substance misuse or mental health issues will have a particularly hard time quitting
  • The evidence is mixed regarding the effectiveness of incentives
  • Hypnosis and acupuncture are not effective

Reduce out-of-pocket costs for effective therapies to stop using tobacco

  • The Task Force on Community Preventive Services found that programs to reduce out-of-pocket costs are effective in increasing 1) the use of tobacco cessation therapies; 2) the number of people who attempt to quit using tobacco and; 3) the number of people who successfully stop using tobacco
  • Strategies include providing services or coverage for or reimbursing the costs associated with tobacco cessation groups, or nicotine replacement or other pharmacologic therapies
  • Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) include nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, and nasal sprays

Provider reminder systems and provider training improve frequency and quality of clinical treatment

  • Health provider contracts should require a clinical reminder system to identify every tobacco user, with patient medical history questionnaires, reminders to providers, and education to providers on successful counseling approaches
  • Efforts to increase the number of people who stop using tobacco include prompting health care providers to identify and to discuss with tobacco-using patients the importance of quitting (i.e., provider reminder), an education program for providers, so that they can help their patients quit tobacco use (i.e., provider education), and self-help materials for patients interested in quitting (i.e., patient education)

Free influenza immunizations available at the workplace benefit all employees but especially smokers

  • Smokers are at higher risk for respiratory infections and complications and benefit from influenza immunizations



1.  DHHS, Agency for Healthcare Research and Policy, The United States Preventive Services Task Force. Counseling to prevent tobacco use. [cited 2008 Oct 13].

2.  AHCPR Supported Clinical Practice Guideline, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence Guideline Panel. Clinical practice guidelines, treating tobacco use and dependence: 2008 update. [cited 2008 Oct 13]. Available from:

3.  The Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Effectiveness of using provider reminders and provider education, with or without patient education. The Guide to Community Preventive Services. [cited 2008 Oct 13]. Available from:

4.  Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Effectiveness of reducing patient out-of-pocket costs for effective therapies to stop using tobacco. The Guide to Community Preventive Services. [cited 2008 Oct 13]. Available from: