New Digital Tools make companies rethink tobacco cessation
Many employers believe that tobacco use is “yesterday’s problem.” In fact, a Society for Human Resource Management report shows the percentage of employers offering smoking cessation benefits declined to a new low of 37 percent this year.
But tobacco use is still a troubling issue.
There are more than 36 million smokers in the U.S. and the impact on employers is very real. Current smokers cost roughly $6,000 more annually than people who have never smoked in terms of excess health care and productivity costs.
About 70 percent of smokers want to quit and of those, 8 million are actively looking for smoking cessation help online each year.
Trending digital tools can help more smokers quit
Traditional tobacco cessation programs are centered on phone-based quit lines. But today’s consumers overwhelmingly prefer the convenience and access of digital approaches.
The eDigital Customer Service Benchmark study, for example, shows live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73 percent, compared with 61 percent for email and 44 percent for phone.
Online tools to help smokers quit are proven to be as effective as telephone and in-person counseling. As a result, multi-modal web-based programs are playing an increasingly critical role in supporting tobacco users with their quit attempts—in ways that match their communication preferences.
Two examples of trending digital tools to support tobacco cessation include:
Active online social communities: A recent study showed the power of participating in an online community to quit smoking. Among users registered on a web-based quit smoking program, those who were active in its community were more likely to quit successfully than those who did not join the community.
Tailored text messages: Text message interventions have been shown to promote quitting in the short- and long term. Historically, text message programs have been offered in parallel to Internet programs. But there are good reasons to believe that there are powerful synergies between these kinds of quit smoking programs. Innovative, new research is testing how text messaging can promote adherence to web-based cessation programs to drive even higher quit rates.
Want to know more about trending digital tools for tobacco cessation? Check out the Connected Health Conference keynote by Eric Asche from the Truth Initiative and the session, “Applying Digital Tools to Personal & Public Health”.