Fort Worth Mulling Controversial Move to Not Hire Smokers for City Employment [VIDEO]
If you’re a smoker who lives in Fort Worth you may soon have to scratch city employment off your list of job prospects — the city is considering a ban on hiring tobacco users.
Mayor Betsy Price cited the added insurance costs of having smokers in the workforce, saying, “Certainly we put taxpayer dollars into health care for our employees, and anything that might benefit the health to make our employees more protective and healthy, we’re going to take a look at.”
The city is considering modeling itself after the Baylor Healthcare System, which stopped hiring smokers as of January 1 and offers smoking-cessation programs for current employees and their spouses. President Steve Newton said every dollar Baylor spends on those wellness programs winds up saving the company $2.44.
It’s believed Fort Worth would be the first big city to institute such a policy.
“It certainly helps to promote health in our communities,” Newton said. “It also helps in the bottom line. We spend less money on our health care, and we end up with a healthier work force.”
But Vince Chasteen, president of the city’s employee association, thinks it’s a slippery slope.
“I think it’s an infringement on the public’s rights to live their life the way they choose to,” he said. “I feel like the next thing they want to do is take DNA samples to figure out if anybody is going to have any kind of diseases going forward.”
Take a look at a news story about the potential ban below.