Employers have a strong interest in helping employees to give up cigarettes.

Researchers at the National Business Group on Health, Washington, have explored employers’ attitudes toward smoking and other wellness issues in a recent survey of 506 U.S. employers with 1,000 or more employees.

About 51% of the employers participating ranked smoking as a top issue. Obesity was a top concern for 54%, and high blood pressure was a top concern for 47%, NBGH researchers report.

The latest survey included a number of questions about efforts to help employees stop smoking.

About 78% of the participating employers said they believe stop-smoking programs can improve employee health, and 70% agreed that offering smoking-cessation benefits would be the “most valuable” way to encourage employees to quit smoking.

Just 2% of the employers reported offering smoking-cessation programs that meet guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but more than 50% say they are doing more this year to encourage employees to quit smoking, the researchers report.