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4 Employee Transportation Industry Tobacco Use Trends

April 1, 2022
By Pivot
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The current state of transportation

World events from the 2020s have affected nearly every business in some way or another. One of the most impacted industries? Transportation has felt the squeeze caused by unpredictable shutdowns, growing employee shortages, supply chain snafus, and whiplash caused by massive changes in demand.

As a result, transportation companies are working to provide their employees with the most effective benefits, all while simultaneously reducing their bottom-line costs. These benefit offerings include things like wellness resources – including tobacco cessation programs – that empower workers to leave behind old habits and lead happier and healthier lives.

Understanding transportation employee tobacco trends

Working with Dimensional Research, Pivot surveyed transportation employers and employees to gather a more comprehensive understanding of tobacco use, tobacco cessation programs, and their perceived effectiveness. With over 100 HR professionals and 300+ tobacco-using employees surveyed, the questions asked provided insight into the current state of tobacco cessation programs in the industry. They also gave further perspective into leveraging such findings to create world-class benefits packages that encourage high employee performance beyond incentivizing applicants during the hiring process.

4 transportation industry tobacco use trends employers need to know

Tobacco use in the U.S. increased in 2020 for the first time since 1966

Our survey found that 99% of tobacco-using transportation employees use tobacco in some capacity while at work – the highest rate of all the industries (retail, construction, manufacturing, hospitality, transportation) surveyed. In fact, 30% of tobacco-using employees in the transportation industry responded that they began using tobacco during the pandemic. Another 28% resumed or increased their pre-existing habit in this same time frame.

Transportation employees hide their tobacco use from their employers

While it’s common practice for many workers in any industry to hide their tobacco use from their employers, our survey found that transportation employees do so at a higher rate than in other industries. When asked why they did not disclose their tobacco use, employees provided many responses, including concerns surrounding their reputation and the feeling that tobacco use isn’t an employer’s business.

Among transportation workers specifically, a consistent line of reasoning appeared: employees are concerned they’ll have to pay more for health insurance if their employer is aware of their tobacco use. Needless to say, this isn’t an entirely irrational concern: 80% of transportation industry employers pass higher insurance costs onto their tobacco-using employees, which is 12% higher than the next-closest industry surveyed. This type of policy incentivizes employees to hide their tobacco use, leading to an inaccurate picture of employee tobacco use.

Transportation employees use tobacco while on the job

Our survey found that a whopping 99% of transportation tobacco-using employees use tobacco while at work – the highest rate of any surveyed industry. While tobacco use does happen on sanctioned breaks, 30% of the surveyed transportation industry employees said that they used tobacco, “while actively working,” raising concerns about the impact on topics integral to a successful business, including brand perception, behind-the-wheel safety, liability potential, and even productivity.

Tobacco cessation programs are a priority for both employers and employees

80% of transportation industry employers surveyed said that tobacco cessation programs ranked as “extremely important,” 10% higher than any other industry. Additionally, 46% of all employers surveyed listed tobacco cessation as a top-three wellness benefit. Transportation industry employees answered in a similarly enthusiastic way, with 40% stating that they would be “very likely” to participate in an employer-provided tobacco cessation program – the highest of any industry surveyed.

Transportation employees are affected by tobacco use

While there’s a focus on what many consider to be standard “core” employee benefits – health insurance, retirement savings accounts, and more – it can be easy to miss the importance of wellness programs like tobacco cessation. But it’s clear from our survey results that both employers and employees within the transportation industry are bearing the burden of such habits.

To learn about the three ways in which employee tobacco use is negatively impacting your employer, download our new benchmark report, titled Transportation Industry Employee Tobacco Use Trends.

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Transportation Industry Employee Tobacco Use Trends

To learn about the three ways in which employee tobacco use is negatively impacting your employer, download our new benchmark report.

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