HR offers new smoking cessation program

Penn’s Division of Human Resources (HR) has unveiled a new smoking cessation program to help faculty and staff who smoke improve their health and save money on the costs of nicotine replacement therapy. All full- and part-time, benefits-eligible employees can enroll.

“The program is essentially a coaching program,” says Susan Sproat, executive director of HR Benefits. “That means you will be assigned to a coach who understands smoking cessation. [He or she] will evaluate your need for nicotine replacement therapy. Some will need it. Some will already have prescriptions. It depends on how much you smoke versus how little.”

The program is completely confidential. Enrollment is managed by Penn’s third-party wellness partner, StayWell Health Management.

Smoking Cessation

StayWell coaches are trained in motivational and behavioral therapy techniques to counsel participants and help them deal with the urge to smoke. After an initial evaluation, nicotine replacement therapy is shipped directly to the homes of participants who need it. The program includes unlimited inbound and outbound calls with a coach, and faculty and staff can also converse with a coach online.

Up to a 12-week supply of therapeutic smoking cessation aids—such as gum, lozenges, or nicotine replacement patches—will be shipped to employees’ homes at no cost.

Interested employees can enroll online via Penn’s new wellness portal by logging in with a PennKey and password at penn.staywell.com. Eligible faculty and staff can also enroll can by calling 855-428-6324.

There is no limit on the number of times a person can attempt to complete the program.

“Even if it takes more than one time to quit, this is a great way to get started,” Sproat says.

She adds that employees who participated in Penn’s “Be in the Know” wellness program and received a recommendation to quit smoking have already been provided enrollment information in their personalized wellness plan.

Originally published on March 13, 2014