Hall County HR director Charley Nix “says a proposal under consideration would mandate a $30 monthly surcharge for smokers on the county payroll.”
Hall County is also developing smoking cessation programs that would include counseling and certain medications used to help kick the habit. The county says it will pay for such medications.
Nix cites statistics indicating the health benefits of not smoking far exceed any risks from gaining five pounds, or from any adverse psychological effects that may follow quitting. And he notes that those who quit live longer than those who continue to smoke.
I can definitely get on board with a higher insurance premium for people who electively engage in activities which have a 100% chance of causing massively expensive health problems.
The last paragraph bothered me at first, as I don’t see making polixy for the purpose of promoting “health benefits” and “liv[ing] longer” as a necessary function of government. However, in the current context — an employer promoting health and effectiveness from its employees, while acting to prevent huge medical bills resulting from elective activity (or, at least, to prevent the weight of these few who engage in that activity from being borne by all employees) — it seems to make pretty good sense.
What do you think?