4 Myths about Tobacco Use and Employee Mental Health

4 Myths about Tobacco Use and Employee Mental Health

No surprise: the need for employee mental health support has skyrocketed since the pandemic struck.

During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, up from 1 in 10 adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019.

Among employees specifically, a Gartner survey conducted in the 4th quarter of 2020 found that more than one-quarter of the workforce (29%) described itself as depressed as a result of COVID-19. The same survey revealed that nearly half (49%) of employees who reported their organization offers a mental well-being program participated in it in 2020.

But not everyone is using healthy means to cope with today’s unrelenting stress.

In a report released in March 2021, the nonprofit North American Quitline Consortium (NAQC) found a steep drop in calls during 2020 to state quitlines. At the same time, NAQC noted, cigarette sales increased after years of steady decline.

Last year, calls to state quitlines in all 50 states decreased by 27% compared to 2019, which translates to a drop of about 190,000 calls—the lowest call volume seen since 2007.

Who still smokes anyway?

Depending on what part of the country you live in or the industry you work in, you may be wondering: Who really smokes anymore anyway? Smoke-free laws and restrictive smoking policies have quite literally pushed tobacco users into the back alley, out of sight for many of us.

But about 51 million Americans—that’s 21% of adults 18 and older—still use some form of tobacco. Cigarettes remain the most common tobacco product; however, e-cigarette use is climbing among young adults.

Here are 4 myths and truths about employee mental health and stress smoking that may surprise you.

4 truths about employee mental health and stress smoking

Ways to improve employee mental health by helping tobacco users quit

The EX Program helps tobacco users build resilience through live chat coaching with expert quit-tobacco specialists. Participants also gain 24/7 peer support from our active EX Community, personalized texts and emails, up to 8 weeks of quit medication delivered right to their home, and more.

Schedule a time today to see our demo to know how you can offer a proven, quit-tobacco program that helps people live lives free from smoking, vaping and nicotine.

Jessie Saul, Ph.D.
Jessie Saul, Ph.D.

Director, Strategic Insights

Dr. Jessie Saul brings 19 years of experience in research, program evaluation, and strategic implementation around tobacco cessation. She applies this deep understanding to improve EX Program performance and reduce tobacco use among populations. She earned her Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Cornell University.