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Hyland Suggests Mandatory Stop-Smoking Classes for County Employees

County supervisor ponders whether county employees who smoke can be made to take classes to stop smoking, according to news report.

Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland is suggesting that the county make it mandatory that employees who smoke take classes to stop smoking, and on Saturday, a county spokeswoman told the Associated Press that the county's attorneys are looking into the idea.

Hyland made the suggestion at a recent county Board of Supervisors meeting, the Washington Post reported.

Hyland's father, who was a smoker, died at age 50 of lung cancer, the AP report said.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has estimated that the cost of smoking (estimated cost of smoking-related medical expenses and loss of productivity) exceeds $167 billion annually.

A Harvard Business Review blog recently pushed the idea that cigarettes should cost $25 per pack, because that's what they're costing the country in hidden medical costs and lost productivity.

Hyland reportedly suggested about 10 years ago that smokers be cut from the county payroll.

Fairfax County pays 85 percent of the cost for employees' individual health insurance coverage, and 75 percent of cost for two-party or family coverage for employees scheduled to work more than 30 hours per week, according to its Web site.

Beginning with the 2010 premiums, the county began paying half that amount for part-time merit employees hired or rehired after July 3, 2009 who are scheduled to work 30 hours or less per week.

The county already offers smoking cessation workshops for employees as part of its LiveWell program, but those classes are not mandatory.

No figures are available on the number of county employees who smoke.

What do you think? Should "stop-smoking" classes be mandatory for county employees who smoke?

T Ailshire November 27, 2012 at 12:14 AM
If you decide what factors to include, you're increasing the nanny state, not decreasing it. The same people who decide soda pop is bad will soon decide I can't have a spaghetti dinner because of the carbs, without paying a lick of attention to the fact that almost all foods have a place in a well-thought-out, balanced diet. They attempt to decide whether the four-block walk is long enough, or whether it must be five blocks, without consulting my medical professional. They decide what's a "risky pastime" without regard for one's talents and experiences.'
T Ailshire November 27, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Thank you.
Joe Bagadonuts November 27, 2012 at 02:51 AM
@T A: Actuary based pricing has been used for decades to set individual prices for auto and life insurance. If you've got either type of insurance, you're already experiencing pricing based on life choices. I shouldn't have to subsidize the health care costs of an obese rock climbing smoker with untreated high blood pressure and lots of speeding tickets or DUIs.
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