Benefits to bet on: vaping support

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Tobacco cessation–focused on both traditional cigarettes and chewing tobacco–has historically been a priority for employers, and HR professionals in particular. But a growing number are turning their sights on vaping support and cessation. The move is driven by scores of stats showing the increase of vaping–and its drastic health impact. Digital programs that offer virtual and 24/7 support for employees and their families and children–young users are on the rise–can be a particularly impactful workplace offering, experts say.

“While not yet a hot topic among HR managers, it’s certainly on the radar for 2020,” says LuAnn Heinen, vice president of wellbeing and workforce strategy at the Business Group on Health.

For Generac Power Systems, a tobacco-cessation program was an important piece to add to its wellness efforts. More than a quarter of the company’s 5,800 employees–3,000 of them are in the U.S.–were tobacco users. And vaping use, which was rising among employees, quickly became a conversation topic for the company’s HR leaders. Generac offered a digital tobacco-cessation program called the EX program–offered through the Truth Initiative in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic. Not only has it helped employees quit vaping and improve their health, it’s saved significant money for Generac, too–about $182,000 net savings from people not using tobacco, which includes the $10,000 the company pays annually for the EX program, a direct result of medical-cost savings.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.