How to Choose a Cessation Program that Health Plan Members Want to Use

How to Choose a Cessation Program that Health Plan Members Want to Use

A tobacco cessation program is a standard option for many health plans, but now more than ever, standard is often not enough.

While the overall prevalence of smoking among U.S. adults has been declining, large disparities in tobacco use remain across groups defined by race, educational level, and socioeconomic status.

Add tobacco use trends during COVID-19 into the mix and there’s now a new urgency for providing resources to health plan members who are ready to quit or thinking about quitting tobacco.

As more studies emerge, it’s become clear that smoking is associated with a negative progression and adverse outcomes for COVID-19, and that e-cigarette use is a risk factor as well.

Cost Controls Going Up in Smoke?

As tobacco use continues, the costs continue to soar as well. The estimated annual smoking-attributable direct medical spending is nearly $170 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s the equivalent of buying 850,000 houses at $200,000 each.

A national analysis of healthcare expenditures associated with smoking estimates that a 10% decline in smoking in the U.S. would offer significant reduction in total national healthcare costs—by an estimated $63 billion just a year later.

cessation program for health plans

Sources: “Economic Trends in Tobacco,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Lightwood J, Glantz S. Smoking Behavior and Healthcare Expenditure in the United States, 1992-2009: Panel Data Estimates. PLOS Medicine 13(6): e1002070 

That’s because smoking has been found to cause a range of illnesses, including diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, and complications with pregnancy. And that doesn’t even bring COVID-19 and its treatment costs into consideration.

Finding the Right Cessation Program—What Works

Whether your health plan focuses on employers, Medicaid populations, or other groups, offering a tobacco cessation program that members will use is a must.

Large employer groups want best-in-class solutions, not a check-the-box program, for their employees, while Medicaid members require a solution that understands their needs and makes access easy wherever they are.

Fortunately, there’s a cheat sheet.

Download our Health Plan Buyer’s Guide, with 10 tips on how to select a quit-smoking and quit-vaping program for your population.

You’ll learn what questions to ask as you evaluate different programs, and why those questions are important not just now, but into the future. From reporting and client support to quit medication and community support tools, you’ll get the insights you need to understand the nuances and benefits of each program.

If you’d like to inspire more tobacco-free lives with a new approach, the EX Program is the only quit-tobacco program that combines the scientific leadership in digital tobacco solutions from Truth Initiative, with a proven treatment model from Mayo Clinic.

Visit Contact Us today to see a demo or start a conversation about how the EX Program compares to other cessation programs on the market today.


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.

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