What’s gonna happen when they ban deep fat fried food in New Orleans? Or cheese in Milwaukee?
If a new policy is adopted, smokers in Fort Worth, Texas, may no longer be eligible to work for the city, WFAA is reporting.
In reevaluating its health care strategy, Fort Worth’s human resources department is looking at some private business models, including that of Baylor Healthcare System, one of the state’s largest employers which stopped hiring smokers as of Jan. 1, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“Certainly we put tax-payer dollars into health care for our employees, and anything that might benefit the health to make our employees more protective and healthy, we’re going to take a look at,” Betsy Price, the mayor of Fort Worth, told WFAA.
The proposed ban in Fort Worth is one of many measures employers are taking or considering in order to discourage employees from smoking. In November, The New York Times reported that, in the last two years, the number of health insurance policies that penalize employees with higher premiums for unhealthy lifestyle choices has doubled.
According to the Times, Home Depot, Safeway, and General Mills all now demand higher premiums from certain workers. Wal-Mart recently started demanding a $2,000-a-year surcharge from some of its employees who smoke.
And in December, the New York Post reported that smokers working for PepsiCo were outraged over having to pay $50 per month for their habit, a fee that would be waived if they took a four to six week anti-smoking course.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, smoking and secondhand smoke cost the U.S. $193 billion in health bills and lost productivity annually.