Focus your early communication efforts on letting people know that the
change is coming. How will it work,
and why is the policy being modi;ed?
What resources, including a formal
program and medication, will be available?
“People don’t like surprises,” says
Beki Lischalk, CHRO of Kitsap Men-
tal Health Services, so the not-for-
pro;t clinic in Bremerton, Wash., was
forthcoming about upcoming changes
to how it would handle smoking in the
workplace. “We spent a lot of time pre-
paring employees and our patients for
Kitsap imposes a $100-per-month
health insurance surcharge for to-
bacco users and sponsors a program
to help smokers quit. To avoid paying
the extra fee, workers must sign an
affidavit stating that they are tobac-
co-free during every open enrollment
period. If they are using tobacco, they
can still avoid the charge by complet-
ing a 90-day program. After that,
they will be subject to the nonsmok-
ing rate regardless of their smoking
status until next year’s open-enroll-
Some business leaders bolster their
policies by making it as inconvenient
as possible to smoke. Leaders at Kitsap
banned smoking on the entire campus
in 2015 for everyone—employees, patients and visitors. “You can’t even sit in
your car in the parking lot and smoke,”
While the cost associated with
smoking was a key factor in these decisions, the ban was also driven by the
team’s concern for the well-being of the
organization’s sta; and patients, many
of whom have allergies or are sensitive
to certain odors.
A few years before imposing a health
insurance premium surcharge for to-
bacco users, leaders at Monarch Bev-
erage Co., a beer and wine distributor
based in Indianapolis, barred smok-
ing anywhere on company property,
including in all delivery trucks, vans
and cars used by the sales force. That
was an important ;rst step in their
e;orts, says Natalie Roberts, a senior
vice president at Monarch.
LEVERAGING WELLNESS TOOLS Smoking cessation is an im- portant dimension of broader wellness e;orts. At Indianapo-lis-based Major Tool & Machine Inc.,
employees earn a premium reduction
whenever they meet certain goals regarding tobacco usage, body mass
index, blood glucose, cholesterol
and blood pressure. Tobacco usage is
more heavily weighted than the other
four metrics, and nonusers get a $10
break per paycheck.
Other aspects of the wellness program include an onsite ;tness room
and health clinic, annual biometric
screenings and personal coaching.
About 80 percent of the organization’s employees make use of these offerings, which emphasize the dangers
of smoking. When the bene;ts team
promoted a $49 test that measures
plaque in coronary arteries, an indicator of heart disease, several workers found they had signi;cant buildup,
even though they had no symptoms.
Clinic sta; used this as an opportunity to discuss how smoking raises
people’s risk for heart disease.
The onsite clinic “allows us to o;er
a much more personal and individu-
CARROTS AND STICKS
Employers that have implemented health care premium discounts and surcharges.
Smokers who want to quit
Those who have tried to stop
Source: U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
for health care plans
Health care premium discount
for not using tobacco
Premium discount for participating
in a smoking-cessation program
Source: SHRM’s 2018 Employee Benefits survey report.
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