As a company you may want to institute an workplace wellness program, but believe that it won’t reach smokers: smoking is a common deterrent to exercise. Smokers may not only have more difficulty exercising, but also may feel less motivated to exercise since they find it to be more difficult. Employers can reach these employees by instituting an exercise program with smoking cessation incentives.
One startling fact is that exercise not only helps offset the detriments of smoking, but often helps employees quit smoking. Quitting smoking produces anxiety, and exercise is a well known to alleviate stress. Moreover, exercise has long term impact on smoking cessation: employees who engage in exercise are twice as likely to be non-smokers 3 months later. This is particularly important, since smoking is a notoriously difficult habit to break. Employees may quit 8-11 times before fully breaking the habit.
No matter the long-term benefits, smokers may find it difficult or ego-depleting to engage in an exercise program. Many companies have success creating smoke-free zones. However, companies should also consider rewarding people for their efforts to quit. To reach these employees, a company should target incentive programs at smokers. They can not only incentivise exercise, but also reward employees for cutting back on cigarette usage. Some common ways to incentivize smoking cessation include offering smoking counseling (even 3 minutes can produce results), or reimbursing for smoking cessation costs (for example, patches).
Smoking Cessation Technology
There are also exciting innovations in cessation monitoring on the horizon. Companies can now test Carbon Monoxide levels in smokers and allow them to keep track of their smoking habits. Simply monitoring one’s smoking behavior–and subsequently monetary expenditures–can help decrease smoking frequency. Although these products are new, they are quickly moving towards becoming smarter. Many integrate with smart phones, and apps that track fitness and health habits. One company has even invented a smart lighter that curbs smoking by tracking how often you light up. Reimbursing for these products, and then rewarding employees for positive changes in behavior can help them self-monitor. All of this without the pressure of going cold turkey.
If you want creative ways to reach employees, we at IncentFit have experience creating high engagement in varied workplaces. From gym reimbursements to smoking cessation programs, we can help promote wellness in your workplace. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.