Tobacco Premium

Tobacco Cessation Program Options

If you successfully complete a qualified tobacco cessation program such as the three free programs listed below, the tobacco premium will no longer apply. To participate in another tobacco cessation option, please contact the Wellness Program before beginning to determine whether it qualifies.

1. Virtual Classes

  • Tobacco Free Florida offers Group Quit, a free support group led by a trained specialist. You need to attend all four one-hour classes in the four-part series. (NOTE: The one-day Tools to Quit classes do not qualify.)
  • You may be eligible to receive free nicotine patches or gum, if medically appropriate.
  • Upcoming Virtual Classes: To register for a class series listed below, call the local Tobacco Free Florida agency, Area Health Education Center, at (813) 929-1000 or use the online registration form.
    • Wednesdays 12:15 – 1:15 p.m., February 1, 8, 15, 22
    • Thursdays 12:30 – 1:30 p.m., February 23, March 2, 9, 16

2. Phone

  • Cigna offers one-on-one phone support with Health Coaching to help you quit tobacco.
  • To register, call (800) 862-3557 and select option 6.

3. Online

  • Complete a 28-day online Quit Smoking program:
    • Go to myCigna.com, select the Wellness drop down from the menu at the top right, then click Health Assistant.
    • You’ll be redirected to Cigna’s WebMD Health Services site.
    • Click START A PLAN.
    • Find the Quit Tobacco Plan and click START THIS PLAN.
    • IMPORTANT: The Quit Tobacco Plan is a 12-week WebMD program; however, once you complete 28 days, you will receive credit for completion of Cigna’s ‘Quit Tobacco – 28 Day Program’, which will count as successful completion of a tobacco cessation program.

Tobacco Premium FAQs

What is the tobacco premium?

Employees on a Pinellas County medical plan who use tobacco will be charged a $500 tobacco premium beginning April 1, 2023, unless they complete a qualified tobacco cessation program between August 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023. The premium does not apply to spouses. Employees who have incurred this premium in 2022 may still complete a qualified course to discontinue future deductions for this year.

What is the purpose?

Pinellas County is committed to the health and wellness of its employees. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States. The premium helps offset increased health care costs for Pinellas County and offers a financial incentive for employees to quit.

What tobacco products are included?

Cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, dip, snuff and hookahs.

How would you define a tobacco user?

Someone who has used a tobacco product at least once a week in the past three months.

Does Pinellas County offer resources to help me quit tobacco?

Yes. See Tobacco Cessation Program options above. You can also view Tobacco Cessation Resources.

What if I complete a tobacco cessation program in early 2022, will that count for the 2023 premium waiver?

Program completion prior to Aug. 1, 2022 does not qualify for the 2023 premium waiver.

What if I complete a cessation program but don’t stop using tobacco?

Quitting tobacco is not easy and may require several attempts for success. Employees who successfully complete a qualified program between August 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023 are not required to quit tobacco.

What if I quit tobacco but I don’t complete a qualified cessation program?

If you have been tobacco free for 90 days or longer, you may fill out a tobacco attestation form and future deductions will cease.

What if I need nicotine replacement therapy such as gum or patches to quit tobacco?

If you attend a Tobacco Free Florida class, you may be eligible to receive free patches, gum or lozenges if medically appropriate.

The following FDA-approved tobacco cessation aids are available at no cost through your Cigna benefits with a prescription:

  • Nicotine Gum
  • Nicotine Skin Patches
  • Nicotine Lozenges
  • Nicotine Inhaler (Nicorette® Inhaler)
  • Nicotine Nasal Spray (Nicotrol®)
  • Zyban (Bupropion)
  • Chantix (Varenicline)

Electronic cigarettes are not approved by the FDA for therapeutic use.

How will you know if I use tobacco?

During Annual Enrollment for benefits coverage, each employee attests to their tobacco use in OPUS.

Will you find whether I use tobacco from a biometric screening or random drug test?

No.

How are the tobacco premium funds used?

Pinellas County applies the monies to the Health Fund which pays for health care claims and other related expenses.

How can I get more information on the tobacco premium?

Contact Wellness at wellness@pinellas.gov or by phone at (727) 464-3367, option 1.

1/26/23