How Digital (vs. Phone-based) Programs Reach More Tobacco Users

How Digital (vs. Phone-based) Programs Reach More Tobacco Users

To help smokers quit, many employers and health plans still offer programs with phone coaching. Yet the average quitline participant now takes less than two calls.

Why? Because more of today’s tobacco users prefer the convenience of chat, text, email and online resources.

The annual excess cost to employ a smoker is about $6,000 due to increased medical expenses, absenteeism and lost productivity. This makes employers particularly motivated to increase the reach and impact of their quit-smoking program. To achieve this today, it requires new thinking.

Our new report, Twelve million smokers look online for quit smoking help annually: Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) data, 2005-2017,” published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research explains why.


Bottom line: If you only offer a phone-based quit-smoking program, you are missing a sizable portion of tobacco users who prefer the convenience and accessibility of a digital program.

Visit our program page for details on proven digital modalities that help smokers quit. Or download “Personalize employee benefits where it matters most” to learn more about the benefits of offering a digital quit-smoking program. 

Sources for infographic:

Graham AL, Amato MS. Twelve million smokers look online for quit smoking help annually: Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) data, 2005-2017. Nicotine Tob Res. 2018, 1-4.

Syamlal G, Mazurek JM, Hendricks SA, Jamal A. Cigarette Smoking Trends Among U.S. Working Adult by Industry and Occupation: Findings From the 2004–2012 National Health Interview Survey. Nicotine Tob Research. 2015;17(5):599-606.

Berman M, Crane R, Seiber E, Munur M. Estimating the cost of a smoking employee. Tob Control. 2014 Sep;23(5):428-33.

Jamal A, Phillips E, Gentzke AS, et al. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults — United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:53–59. 

Danaei G, Ding EL, Mozaffarian D, Taylor B, Rehm J, Murray CJ, Ezzati M. The preventable causes of death in the United States: comparative risk assessment of dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors. PLoS Med. 2009 Apr 28;6(4):e1000058.

Amanda Graham, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President of Innovations

Amanda leads the Innovations Center within Truth Initiative. The Innovations Center is dedicated to designing, building, and marketing novel digital products—like the EX Program—for quitting and prevention. She is a thought leader in web and mobile quit-smoking interventions and online social networks, and has been awarded over $15 million in research funding. Amanda earned a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology from the University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center.