January 28, 2005


Costs Make Employers See Smokers as a Drag (Daniel Costello, January 28, 2005, LA Times)

Employers have recently tried every carrot they can think of — including cash incentives and iPods — to persuade employees to quit smoking. Now some are trying the stick.

Pointing to rising health costs and the oversized proportion of insurance claims attributed to smokers, some employers in California and around the country are refusing to hire applicants who smoke and, sometimes, firing employees who refuse to quit.

"Employers are realizing the majority of health costs are spent on a small minority of workers," says Bill Whitmer, chief executive of the Health Enhancement Research Organization, an employer and healthcare coalition in Birmingham, Ala.

Fat is next.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2005 7:58 AM

Republicans can use these trends to help move health insurance back to individuals from employers.

Posted by: pj at January 28, 2005 9:57 AM

And remember that light exercise before dinner, rather than a cocktail, is the preferred means of relaxation......

Posted by: ed at January 28, 2005 10:04 AM

I don't believe health costs are the only reasons employers discourage smoking. Has anyone ever did a time study on lost production? The guy in the office 3 doors down from me leaves every 20 minutes, takes an elevator down 12 floors to the lobby. Comes back 20 minutes later. Another 20 minutes and he's gone again. On and on it goes thruout the day.

Posted by: at January 28, 2005 10:20 AM

> On and on it goes thruout the day.

Then let him smoke in his office.

Posted by: Guy T. at January 28, 2005 10:32 AM

Actually smokers have lower helath care costs. They die quicker.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 28, 2005 11:02 AM

There is significant pressure at the office on those of us who are more than pleasingly plump. Someone of my girth would probably not get hired today out of college regardless of grades or skills.

Posted by: Bart at January 28, 2005 2:37 PM