Survey of Employers Reveals Their Barriers to Supporting Tobacco-Control Programs

Encouraging employer support for tobacco control and prevention policies

Partnership for Prevention, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that supports activities to prevent disease and promote health, surveyed 2,180 private- and public-sector employers and conducted four focus groups to explore workplace tobacco-cessation policies and practices.

Key Findings

Among the survey and focus group findings:

  • Employer support for tobacco control and prevention programs remains low. Less than 25 percent of employers covered tobacco-cessation services in their health plans, and even fewer provided services at their worksites.
  • Employers identified these barriers, among others, to implementing tobacco control programs: high cost, absence of return-on-investment information, interference with work time and concern about intruding into employee's lives.
  • In order to expand tobacco-cessation programs, employers say they need models of successful programs, return-on-investment data, marketing and communications kits, educational materials for employees, and programs provided by health plans and pharmaceutical companies.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project with an unsolicited grant award of $102,572 from March 2002 to May 2004.