Despite significant reductions in the adult smoking rate over the past twenty years, the burden of tobacco remains entrenched. Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death and disease in Massachusetts and nationally. In fact, more than 8,000 Massachusetts residents die each year from smoking and many more face tobacco-related illnesses.1 Nationally, tobacco kills more than 480,000 people annually – more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.
Quitting smoking is the single best thing a person who smokes can do for their health. Research shows that people who smoke are most successful in quitting tobacco if they have access to affordable FDA-approved quit medications, as well as counseling services.
Every November, since 1976, the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout® has challenged people who smoke to try to quit, and stay, tobacco-free. This year, the Great American Smokeout® is on Thursday, November 19th. That day, and throughout the year, let your employees know that they can call the Massachusetts Smokers Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free and confidential telephone counseling services to help to end their tobacco use.
Beyond the health toll, tobacco use costs Americans $170 billion in health care expenditures and more than $150 billion in lost productivity each year.2 As such, Massachusetts employers have a vested interest in helping to reduce tobacco use among their employees. In Massachusetts alone, smoking-attributable diseases account for 10% of all health care costs, a full $4.3 billion each year.3
There are other policies and practices that organizations can adopt to reduce tobacco use among its employees, including:
- Adopting policies for tobacco-free grounds, including company vehicles
- Prohibiting the use of electronic cigarettes and other nicotine products in the workplace
- Allowing employees to use work time for tobacco quit programs
- Providing health insurance coverage with no or low out-of-pocket costs for prescription and over-the-counter tobacco cessation medications including nicotine replacement
- Offering programs and information to support employees that want to quit tobacco
Join the Great American Smokeout® and help to make smoking history in Massachusetts!
 Massachusetts Department of Public Health http://makesmokinghistory.org/about/
 Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/facts_issues/toll_us/
 Massachusetts Department of Public Health http://makesmokinghistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/MTCP_timeline.pdf