September 1, 2012

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Cease and Desist

Local Companies Implement Tobacco-free Policies

Amy K. Stewart

September 1, 2012

Intermountain Healthcare allows its employees to smoke. However, this year the company implemented a benefit premium surcharge for employees who use tobacco: $10 per paycheck, which is $260 annually. In 2013, that amount will rise to $25 per paycheck for a total $650.

“There is only a surcharge if you are not trying to quit,” says Daron Cowley, spokesman for Intermountain Healthcare. If an employee uses tobacco but is in a smoking cessation program, or if they are discontinuing smoking under the care of their physician, they are exempt from the insurance surcharge.

“With the field we are in, we feel this is appropriate and we need to be setting a good example of healthy lifestyles,” Cowley says. “There is overwhelming evidence of the health risks associated with tobacco use and there is strong evidence of an increase in healthcare costs associated with tobacco use.”

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