According to Michael Miner at the Chicago Reader, employees at Chicago’s Tribune Company who smoke or have a family member who smokes will be charged an extra $100 a month unless they sign up for and complete the Free & Clear smoking cessation program. The new policy, which will be implemented on January 1, serves the dual purpose of encouraging better health and offsetting the high cost of employee health care coverage.
When I signed up for health insurance at the university I used to work at, individuals were offered a discount if they were non-smokers. While smoking status was self-reported and relied solely on honor, us non-smokers considered it a nice “perk” for staying healthy. My smoking colleagues, however, didn’t find the discount large enough to motivate them to quit. Perhaps the high financial cost of smoking will start to clue employees at the Tribune Company into the high health costs as well.
For more resources on how to quit smoking, check out Cancer Commentary’s coverage of the Quit Smoking Counter.
Do you think that the Tribune Company is infringing on smokers’ rights? Let us know in the comments!