Delray Beach to stop hiring smokers in effort to reduce health insurance premiums

Oct 3, 2012

The following article was published in The Daily Mail on October 3, 2012:

Florida city to stop hiring smokers in effort to reduce health insurance premiums

By Daily Mail Reporter

A Florida city has announced it will stop hiring smokers in an effort to keep health insurance premiums  low.

The commissioners of Delray Beach voted on Monday to stop hiring anyone who uses tobacco.

Current employees who are smokers are exempted from the policy.

Officials in the South Florida city of 60,000 said smokers cost an extra $12,000 a year in health insurance and disability expenses, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

They’re hoping that eliminating smokers from the workforce will lower insurance premiums by promoting a healthier workforce.

Only one of the city commissioners opposed the resolution to exclude smokers from the city payroll.

Officials said they won’t test new hires to the city government, but instead operate on the ‘honor system.’

Current employees are charged an extra health insurance premium, though they are also offered free smoking cessation medication and classes.

Saving money: Delray Beach officials say smokers cost the city $12,000 a year extra in health care and disability payments

Other cities in South Florida have tried to no-smoking policy for employees.

Hallandale Beach and Hollywood have both enacted no-smoking policies on their payrolls.

North Miami dropped its no-smoking policy in 2003 after city leaders said the didn’t see any reduction in health care costs.

Most cities operate their ordinances on an ‘honors’ system and don’t require tests to ensure employees haven’t been smoking.