Take the Tobacco Pledge by Nov. 30

By Yavonda Chase

The pledge should be completed online via Employee Self Service. The pledge, which is now available, can be found in ESS under 2020 Tobacco Pledge or 2020 Benefits Open Enrollment. Upon completion of the pledge, you will receive a confirmation email. UAMS employees should NOT go to the UMR website to take this pledge.

If you do not use tobacco products, you must complete the pledge by Nov. 30 and agree to continue to remain tobacco-free. Failure to complete the pledge will result in you being charged the tobacco surcharge.

If you DO use tobacco  products, you must complete the pledge, including committing to enrolling in and completing a recognized tobacco cessation program in 2019, in order to avoid the surcharge. Many recognized tobacco cessation programs that provide services or one-on-one counseling are available at no cost to you. Failure to agree to smoking cessation efforts will result in you being charged the monthly tobacco surcharge.

More on the Tobacco Surcharge — Any employee who carries the UA medical insurance and who self-reports that they will be a tobacco user in 2020, or who fails to take the tobacco pledge at all, will pay a tobacco surcharge each paycheck. This is a separate, after-tax deduction on your paystub — not added to your normal medical premium cost.

The tobacco pledge is based on the honor system. However, the University will review program compliance and may choose to return to Cotinine Testing in future years. (Cotinine is an alkaloid found in tobacco.)

“Tobacco” includes any form of tobacco products that are smoked (e.g., cigarettes, cigars, pipes); applied to the gums, chewed or ingested (e.g., dipping or chewing leaf tobacco); and/or inhaled (e.g., snuff or electronic cigarettes).

The University of Arkansas recognizes the value of a tobacco-free workplace and has created this program to assist and encourage employees in ending their use of tobacco and tobacco products.

The surcharge applies to your use of tobacco products. It does not apply to covered spouses or children.

Tobacco Cessation Programs — Smokers and tobacco users have many opportunities to quit.  Visit this website for details.  Tobacco cessation assistance is available through UMR at no cost to participants. Chantix, patches, gum, and/or two office visits with your in-network primary care physician are provided at no expense to you through our medical plan. Your provider’s office visit claim must be coded as a visit for tobacco cessation in order for the zero co-payment to apply.

Click here for other smoking cessation resources available to UAMS employees.

For more information, contact the UAMS Office of Human Resources by phone at (501)686-5650, email (AskHR@uams.edu), fax 501-686-5386 or visit hr.uams.edu. Specific information about the wellness program and tobacco cessation programs can be found at https://hr.uams.edu/benefits/wellness-benefits/.