January 9, 2019

Tobacco-cessation resources available to help kick-start a tobacco-free lifestyle

Employees who have made quitting tobacco one of their resolutions for the new year can make use of several resources that will improve not only their health but their pocketbook as well.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals; hundreds are harmful and approximately 70 can cause cancer. The CDC reports that more people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug.

Whitney Soto, registered nurse health coach at the Center for Healthy Living on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, acknowledges the difficulty and dedication it takes to quite using tobacco in any form.

“When you consider how addictive nicotine is, the correlation then is that quitting smoking or tobacco use in other forms is a very difficult thing to do, and sometimes takes numerous attempts,” Soto says. “One resource available to employees is the assistance of the health coaches at CHL. We work with our clients to help them navigate getting to and living a tobacco-free life. We help them overcome cravings, cope with stress, manage weight and more. What we have seen is that having a partner to work with while trying to make this transition helps with successfully quitting tobacco. ”

Available resources

Individualized counseling, as described by Soto, is available at CHL as well as the Purdue University Pharmacy. Additionally, staff at the center can provide assistance for employees at the regional campuses through telephonic tobacco-cessation coaching. For more information on the resources available at the center, call 765-494-0111.

Purdue employees also can consider assistance from the Indiana Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW). The Quitline, a free resource that is available seven days a week for all residents of Indiana, is provided by the State Department of Health. Additionally, persons who enroll in the Quitline services can receive a free two-week starter kit of nicotine patches or gum (while supplies last).

For tobacco cessation options specific to regional campuses, visit their respective websites:

* Purdue University Northwest

* Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne

Insurance coverage

“The Purdue medical plans’ coverage makes it even easier and more convenient to pair tobacco-cessation products with health coaching or counseling as part of a quit plan, improving the likelihood of success,” said Candace Shaffer, director of benefits in Human Resources. 

All Purdue medical plans for faculty and staff cover tobacco-cessation products with no copay as long as the employee has a prescription for them (including over-the-counter items). Cessation products do not require prior authorization and employees are allowed up to a 168-day supply (24 weeks) of each product in one year of treatment. For a list of covered tobacco-cessation products, visit the Tobacco Cessation webpage

Tobacco-user additional premium information

Tobacco users will have the option of completing an approved tobacco-cessation program (via the resources listed above) to avoid the $500 per person annual tobacco-user additional premium that applies under medical plans. Premiums for term life, universal life and critical illness insurance also are based in part on whether or not an employee (and their spouse, if covered) have used tobacco in the last 12 months, and those premiums may be affected as well.

Programs completed by March 31will result in lower premiums for all of 2019, provided that the certificate of completion is submitted by April 30. Programs completed after March 31 will reduce premiums for the remainder of the plan year only, beginning around the time the certificate of completion is submitted.

For more information about the additional premium, visit the tobacco-user additional premium frequently asked questions page.

Anyone with questions about the waivers and resources available may contact Human Resources at 765-494-2222, toll free at 877-725-0222 or via email at hr@purdue.edu.

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