Only 4% of U.S. employers offer programs to help employees quit smoking, despite higher health care costs for employees who smoke and smoking breaks that can cost employers as many as nine weeks of lost productivity annually, according to a survey released on Tuesday by the National Business Group on Health, AP/Houston Chronicle reports. The survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points, included responses from 508 employers and 510 employees who smoke. According to the survey, 82% of employers should offer programs to help employees quit smoking. The survey also found that, although 78% of employers have banned smoking in the workplace, the policies have not prompted employees who smoke to quit. Ron Finch, vice president of the group, said, "These survey results illustrate to employers and benefit managers the need to develop a comprehensive smoking cessation benefit plan." Pfizer, which manufactures the anti-smoking medication Chantix, sponsored the survey (AP/Houston Chronicle, 12/19).

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