Go ahead and smoke, but don’t work here!

Did you see this one from Ft Worth?

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.


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  • Larry Barber

    Just one more example of why employer paid health care is a really bad idea.

  • DRT

    Touche Larry.

    Healthcare should be nationalized and single payer. It is totally logical for companies to not hire smokers, fat people etc.

  • Jeremy

    I work for the Scotts Miracle-Gro company and we will not hire anyone who fails a drug test for tobacco

  • EricW

    Just because a drug is legal doesn’t make one addicted to it any less a drug addict, right?

    And when you compare break times taken by smokers versus non-smokers….

    I can see why companies and governments would do this, esp. given the “incentive” (i.e., penalty) that healthcare companies give them to end employee smoking.

  • DRT

    EricW, I see a fault in your reasoning. Many of the hardest working people I have known have been smokers. Always a smoke and a coffee and they are going a mile a minute.

  • EricW

    “Always a smoke and a coffee” = prime candidate for a heart attack and/or a stroke -> high medical care or treatment costs = higher employer and employee group health insurance rates.

    And some of the hardest working people I know are those who don’t smoke and who daily exercise at the office fitness center.

    I understand your point about my logic being flawed, but it was more a couple comments than a case being presented. I’ve been on Dr. Ornish’s Spectrum diet for 4 months now and feel great. Stable weight, low cholesterol, no need for statins anymore. But I’m not sure I’d demand people who primarily eat his group 5 and 4 foods have to pay more in health insurance, though that’s what most people seem to eat.

  • Mark E. Smith

    It sounds like a good plan to me. Of course, some will argue about people who are obese, etc.