AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d seeSmoking needs to be treated as a chronic health condition, said Ron Finch, vice president at the Business Group. “These survey results illustrate to employers and benefit managers the need to develop a comprehensive smoking cessation benefit plan,” Finch said. The survey of 508 employers and 510 employees who smoke has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3percentage points and was sponsored by Pfizer Inc., which makes an anti-smoking prescription pill, Chantix. NEW YORK – Only 4 percent of large employers offer comprehensive programs to help employees quit smoking, despite higher health costs for smokers and smoking breaks that could cost employers nine weeks of lost productivity a year, according to a 2006 study by the American Journal of Health Promotion. About 82 percent of employers said they should take steps to help their workers quit smoking, according to a separate survey released by the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit consortium of large employers that looks for solutions to health care problems. While most large employers have banned smoking at work, 78percent of employees at smoke-free offices said the policy is not effective in motivating them to quit. In 1999, excess medical expenses because of smoking and smoking-related illnesses cost employers $1,850 per smoking employee, while lost productivity because of smoking and smoking-related illnesses cost employers $1,897 per smoking employee, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!