Erin Thompson Curlett, Senior Content & Social Media Marketing Manager
Thanks to everyone who joined us for our webinar presentation, How Far is too Far? Legal Issues & Best Practices for Worksite Nicotine Testing, given by attorney Julie B. Ross on September 18 and 25. If you missed the presentation, you still have a chance to watch a recording of the webinar on our website. Watch the webinar recording.
Here are some of the webinar's key takeaways:
- Nicotine tests allow employers to test for all tobacco use and can be easily administered at the worksite.
- Worksite nicotine tests promote honesty and compliance with tobacco-free initiatives.
- Employers should always work closely and regularly with legal counsel to keep up to date on the state and federal laws governing tobacco use policy and nicotine testing in the workplace.
- Best practices include tying the test to an incentive program (like a premium differential), randomly administering the test, communicating about the test regularly, preparing for false positives, and treating e-cigarette users like tobacco users.
- Employers should improve their bottom line, but make sure employees understand their health and wellbeing come first.
We received quite a few excellent questions, but unfortunately we were unable to get to them all during the presentation. We asked our worksite incentive design expert, Yuki Yang, to help us out with a few:
Q: Once an employee tests negatively for cotinine, is it necessary or a best practice to test them each year thereafter?
Yuki: The policy should reflect frequency of the test that is consistent with open enrollment and also the re-test guidelines and perimeters.
Q: If your health plan is self-funded, do you still have to follow the state laws regarding tobacco testing?
Yuki: Its prudent to have your policy reviewed by your legal team regardless of whether your plan is self-funded to determine risk.
Q: If we as an employer offer health insurance with premium differential based on tobacco use status, can we require nicotine testing for spouses or children who are covered by our plan?
Yuki: Anyone covered by the plan can be included in the policy but it should be consistent with the premium differential policy.
Q: Can we make the test optional? If the employee wants to receive the incentive they have to pass the test or be in a NRT?
Yuki: The policy can reflect the requirements but should be reviewed with legal to determine risks.
Q: Have you noticed a standard cut-off value used by employers for nicotine and cotinine serum values?
Yuki: A positive screening is considered meeting the criteria the test determines the cut-off value.
Q: What is a best practice for the length of t