For all employers' focus on curbing obesity statistics through healthy eating and exercise programs, it can be easy to forget that smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. One employer, Nelnet, is remaining vigilant about stamping out smoking among its employee population.

Back in 2005, 22% of Nelnet's population smoked, higher than the current national average of 19.3%. Since that year - when the firm launched a wellness program tightly focused on smoking cessation - Nelnet has seen a 73% decrease in smoking, and the employee population that still smokes hovers around 6%. Within the first two years there was 10% reduction in health care claims; over the past four years, health care costs have remained flat.

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