It’s a great time to quit smoking, and you have help
The Great American Smokeout takes place Nov. 19. Every November, the American Cancer Society sets aside the third Thursday to encourage smokers to go tobacco-free. About 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States.
It’s an ideal time for smokers to quit or make a plan to quit. The American Cancer Society offers free resources, and City employees also have many other free resources to help.
Journeys on mymedica.com for 50 points each
My Health Rewards by Medica has a number of interactive online journeys devoted to tobacco cessation. You’ll earn 50 points in the employee wellness program for each journey you complete by the end of the year, and the topics help you change your health habits with easy, achievable steps. You get a gift card for every 100 points (except the 300-point level) up to 600 points.
- Make your date to quit.
You can quit; just take it one small step at a time. In this journey, you’ll set a date. Then you’ll start practicing what it’s like to be smoke-free by starting to say goodbye to those triggers. It’s all about being ready when your quit date comes. This journey is designed for cigarette smokers but will be useful for any tobacco user.
- Not ready to quit.
Not ready to quit? Not a problem. This journey is about getting to know the routines, motivations and triggers in your life that lead to a smoke. Step back and see your smoking from a new angle on your own terms and timeline.
- Ready, set, stop smoking.
You can quit smoking once and for all by practicing one small, doable – even fun – step at a time. First, set your quit date (or get credit for already having one). Then start taking the journey’s steps to prep your mind, body and environment. When your quit date arrives, you’ll be ready to stop. This journey is designed for smokers ready to quit in the next few weeks or months, but there’s lots of support for any tobacco user who wants to quit.
- Stay on track, stay quit.
Even the most devoted quitters face temptation. Practice these easy ways to build the new life you want and the habits you need to quit for good.
QUITPLAN Services offers a complete program to quit smoking:
- Coaching calls: Five one-on-one sessions with a Quit Coach to help you use proven quitting strategies. On your first call, you and your Quit Coach will work together to design a personalized plan to quit. Your coach will help motivate you and guide you through triggers, cravings and managing stress.
- Text messaging: Daily tips, games and reminders sent right to your mobile phone.
- Patches, gum or lozenges: Four weeks of free patches, gum or lozenges.
- Email support: Personalized emails about your quit date and milestones plus helpful tips, advice and encouragement.
- Welcome kit: A printed guide to help you start building your quitting plan.
The helpline program is free for Minnesotans whose health insurance doesn’t include telephone counseling (the City health plan does not include telephone counseling).
To sign up for the QUITPLAN Helpline program, call 1-888-354-7526 or visit quitplan.com.
You can also sign up for these individual QUITPLAN Services: a two-week starter kit of nicotine replacement therapy, text messaging and email support.
Free nicotine replacement therapy
If you’re on the City’s employee health plan through Medica, you can receive these tobacco cessation drugs for free at in-network pharmacies with a prescription from your doctor:
- Zyban: six prescription fills per year.
- Chantix: one starter pack per year with a limit of six prescription fills per year.
- Nicotine lozenges: six prescription fills per year.
If you have any out-of-pocket expenses for nicotine replacement therapy, you may use your HRA/VEBA money to reimburse yourself as long as you have a prescription. You may also use money in your HRA/VEBA account to pay for smoking cessation programs or counseling.
Don’t forget: You are required to follow the City’s smoke-free environment policy
City employees must follow the smoke-free environment policy approved by the City Council. The policy defines smoking as inhaling, exhaling or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or other lighted tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation. That includes the use of electronic cigarettes or the inhaling or exhaling vapor from any electronic delivery device.
City employees, contractors, City vendors, and members of boards and commissions may not:
- Smoke during work hours. Smoking is only permitted during lunch periods and breaks.
- Smoke in City-owned facilities or on property owned by the City. Smoking is only permitted in authorized outdoor smoking areas.
- Smoke in facilities rented or leased by the City. Smoking is only authorized in outdoor smoking areas authorized by the building owner.
- Smoke in City vehicles, equipment or machinery.
- Violate any law or ordinance concerning smoking or tobacco products, regardless of whether it results in a criminal conviction.
Signs now posted at all City buildings notify employees that smoking and e-cigarette use are allowed in designated areas only. See a map of designated smoking areas at all City buildings.
Published Nov 3, 2015