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How employers and health plans can save money and help people quit smoking

Each year a smoker costs an employer nearly $6,000 more than an employee who has never smoked. Yet, many workplace wellness programs just offer general information about smoking cessation and struggle with garnering interest and engagement.

That’s why Truth Initiative® developed the EX® Program, a new quit-smoking program in collaboration with Mayo Clinic. The program is designed for employers, health systems and health plans to offer to their employees and members. 

"We developed the EX Program to fill a gap in the market," said Robin Koval, CEO and President of Truth Initiative. "Organizations are still burdened with the financial and health impacts of smoking, and many are frustrated with the poor results they’re seeing from wellness programs. Tobacco use is a complex addiction that requires specialized treatment from a provider with deep expertise and experience. We aim to be that provider.”

Here’s how the EX Program works.

It uses evidence-based tools and support.

The digital program expands upon EX, the free consumer platform Truth Initiative launched in 2008 that has helped more than 800,000 smokers. Research shows that following the EX plan quadruples a smoker’s chance of quitting.

EX Program participants receive proven effective quit-smoking planning tools and access to an active online community of thousands of smokers and ex-smokers. The EX Program is designed to be as effective as phone-based coaching, but more accessible, flexible and cost-effective.

“Our research has shown that online, interactive interventions are as effective as face-to-face and quitline interventions, but at far lower costs,” said Dr. Amanda Graham, senior vice president of Innovations at Truth Initiative and head of the EX Program. “With the EX Program, smokers can connect with experts and peers at any time, from any device, for as long as they need. Ongoing engagement in our EX community is an independent predictor of success, and 93 percent of members say they would recommend EX to other smokers who want to quit.”

Participants have access to tobacco treatment specialists.

EX Program participants also receive digital coaching and medication support from tobacco treatment specialists at the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and Truth Initiative.

The Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center has a longstanding collaboration with Truth Initiative in delivering EX to consumers. Regular blogs and an active presence in the EX Community have established Mayo Clinic as a valued source of expert advice and guidance.

“The EX Program eliminates virtually all of the barriers to effective treatment and provides ongoing support through the ups and downs of tobacco cessation,” said Dr. J. Taylor Hays, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center. “We are excited to build upon our relationship with Truth Initiative in this innovative program.”

Employers receive outcome reports and guidance.

Employers receive frequent reports on employee engagement and outcomes, along with guidance on promoting the program and setting workplace tobacco policy. The EX Program also helps employers meet requirements for wellness programs under the Affordable Care Act.

The EX Program's inaugural health system client is CHI Mercy Health, a private, not-for-profit medical center in Roseburg, Ore. Mercy, affiliated with the nation’s second-largest Catholic health network, will offer the EX Program to employees, patients and all residents of Douglas County.

Organizations interested in learning how the EX Program differs from their existing quit- smoking program or that wish to offer their smokers a modern approach to quitting can visit theexprogram.com.

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