The real costs of smoking are staggering:
- Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year.
- Smoking-related illness in the U.S. costs more than $300 billion a year, including over $175 billion in direct medical care for adults and $156 billion in lost productivity.
- Employers can save nearly $6,000 per year for every employee who quits smoking.
Helping smokers quit not only saves lives—it also saves everyone money. These savings come from lower healthcare costs, increased workplace productivity and prevented premature deaths.
The Affordable Care Act requires employers and health insurance plans to cover preventive services at no cost to insurance plan members. Tobacco cessation treatment is a preventive service required under this law for more health plans. The American Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking can fulfill this requirement, and has over 35 years of experience helping hundreds of thousands of individuals become smokefree.
Freedom From Smoking®
The American Lung Association's highly effective smoking cessation program is used by employers, hospitals, health plans and other organizations to help the individuals they serve become smokefree for life.
- Unmatched Flexibility. No other program offers in-person, online, phone and self-help support resources that let you tailor a program to your organization's unique needs.
- A Systematic Approach to Quitting. Freedom From Smoking® helps participants develop a plan of action leading to quit day and provides the support they need to remain smokefree.
- Scientific Behavior-Based Methodology. Based on current addiction and behavior change models, the program addresses the difficulties of quitting in a sensitive, supportive style.
- Proven Track Record.
- When combined with smoking cessation medications, up to 57% of participants report quitting smoking by the end of the program.
- Ranked the most effective smoking cessation program based on an evaluation of 100 managed care organizations conducted at Fordham University Graduate School of Business.
- Meets Current Practice Standards of Leading Health Organizations and the Affordable Care Act.
- Helps employers and health insurance plans meet Affordable Care Act requirements for tobacco cessation treatment as a preventive service.
- Conforms to the smoking cessation counseling or advice core measure of the Joint Commission, the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare.
- Clinic program meets criteria for intensive tobacco cessation counseling covered by the latest Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services' decision memo.
- Includes all components of an intensive intervention as outlined by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
There's a Freedom From Smoking option for every person and every setting. No other smoking cessation program offers the same range of options and solutions.
- Freedom From Smoking Plus is an innovative new behavior change program that's perfect for today's mobile lifestyles.
- Nine highly-interactive sessions split into three phases: Getting Ready to Quit, Quit Day and Staying Smokefree
- Works on a desktop, tablet or smartphone—anytime, anywhere
- Fully updated with engaging activities, content and tools
- Telephone and online chat support from the American Lung Association's certified tobacco treatment specialists at the Lung HelpLine
- Freedom From Smoking Corporate Telephonic Program is available through the Lung HelpLine.
- Participants work one-on-one with a certified tobacco treatment specialist over the course of eight weeks, who is there every step of the way with tools, tips and support.
- Eight consecutive weekly calls with counselor educational resources/tools available via mail or email
- Completion certificate provided to participants
- Bonus 7-month follow-up assessment call
- Monthly reporting for agency lead
- NRT (patches, gum, lozenges) available at a reduced fee (billable to the agency, not individuals)
- Freedom From Smoking Group Clinics offer personalized attention and peer support in a small in-person setting for up to 16 employees at a time.
- Seven-week program gives participants time to prepare to quit and practice being smokefree in a supportive environment
- Led by facilitators trained by the American Lung Association
- Available in English and Spanish
- Freedom From Smoking: The Guide to Help You Quit Smoking is an interactive manual that addresses the difficulties of quitting with real-life advice, helpful activities and an innovative graphic approach that enhances learning.
- Winner of the 2015 National Health Information Awards
Contact the American Lung Association at 1-800-LUNGUSA or Info@Lung.org to see how we can incorporate Freedom From Smoking into your organization.
How to Provide a Comprehensive Tobacco Cessation Benefit
The American Lung Association urges all employers to make sure their health insurance includes a comprehensive tobacco cessation benefit for all employees. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employee-sponsored health insurance to cover smoking cessation, but we recommend a model benefit that goes beyond the ACA requirement and gives smokers the best chance to become tobacco-free.
A smoking cessation benefit should:
- Cover all treatments recommended in the U.S. Public Health Service Guideline, include all seven medications on plan formularies and preferred drug lists, and cover all three forms of counseling.
- Cover each medication for its FDA-approved duration of use. Cover at least four counseling sessions per quit attempt, and at least two quit attempts per year—more is even better.
- Eliminate or reduce co-pays and other cost-sharing on medications and counseling.
- Do not require prior authorization of treatments, which slows down treatment and can decrease a smoker's motivation and momentum to quit.
- Do not limit the amount of times a person can try to quit in their lifetime. Quitting is a process that usually takes many attempts.
- Do not require stepped-care therapy, which can force a patient to use a treatment they have already tried or that is not right.
- Do not require patients to attend counseling to obtain medications. Counseling should be encouraged, but requiring it may discourage some people from seeking any assistance with quitting.
Page last updated: June 23, 2020