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January 3, 2022

Smoking kills more people than COVID; what are corporations doing?

The value of preventative medicine has become evident during the pandemic, with measures like vaccination and mask-wearing showing limitations in stopping the spread of COVID-19. People need to focus on overall health by adopting healthier habits such as eating well, taking vitamins, getting fresh air and sunlight, and improving sleep. Many individuals who end up in the hospital due to COVID-19 or with comorbidities related to the disease have poor behaviors contributing to their health conditions. However, the attention given to smoking cessation programs in the workplace remains insufficient, despite the significant impact of tobacco use on health and productivity.

David Utley, founder and CEO of Pivot, emphasized the need for corporations to prioritize smoking cessation as a life-saving preventive service. While COVID-19 has rightfully received attention, tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable deaths among men and women in the United States. Low enrollment rates in tobacco cessation programs indicate a lack of awareness and support. Employers face challenges in focusing on tobacco cessation due to limited data and the dominance of metabolic solutions in the market. To overcome these barriers, innovative chief medical officers and companies should invest in evidence-based interventions, listen to employees' needs, conduct surveys to understand the population, and prioritize mental health in the same way as physical health. By investing in prevention and supporting employees in their quit journey, companies can improve health outcomes and reduce costs associated with tobacco use.

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