News and Events

Martin County Tobacco Prevention Specialist Presents to Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce on Employer-Based Tobacco Cessation Programs
November 14, 2013

At the November 14th Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce Breakfast, the Tobacco Prevention Specialist for Martin County, Kim Waser, was invited to speak on tobacco prevention efforts in Martin County, including Employer Cessation programs.

An audience of over 100 business owners and community leaders in Hobe Sound were guided through an exercise, during which they calculated the true cost of tobacco use in their workplace.

Hobe Sound Chamber Event

Pack-a-day smokers are estimated to have 75% more lost productive time during the work day than their non-smoking co-workers, and healthcare costs are an average of 34% higher than those who do not use tobacco.  In Florida, the average loss in productivity annually for a tobacco user at the workplace is $4,056.  The average extra medical expense for tobacco users is $2,056.

Using the average smoking rate of 21% in Martin County, employers at the Chamber breakfast were asked to estimate how many tobacco users they employed at their workplace.  For many small to mid-size employers in Martin County, the added expense of tobacco users at their workplace was enough to hire an additional full-time employee.

Fortunately, employers in Florida have access to the free Three Ways to Quit Program, where employees can call, go online, or even attend face-to-face cessation classes at their place of employment, in order to support tobacco cessation efforts.

Employers may also opt to implement health care benefits in their company insurance policies that cover approved Nicotine Replacement Therapy, counseling, and at least 2 quit attempts per year for their employees.  Tobacco Free Ground policies also help to support employees attempting to quit, helping them to change their habits and avoid temptations to smoke.

The Hobe Sound Chamber has made an “Employer Tobacco Free Toolkit” available on their website, which employers can use to determine what cost-saving steps they are ready to take to implement tobacco cessation and wellness benefits at their workplace.  Employers can also contact the Tobacco Prevention Specialist to set up a FREE consultation to determine their workplace needs and receive free cessation resources by calling 561-452-5555 or emailing