City wants to ban hiring smokers

If you want to work for the city of Ft. Worth, Texas, and you smoke, you might not need to apply.

Reason? The city is considering a ban on hiring new city workers that smoke.

The radical idea, which was the brainchild of a city worker, is being proposed as a cost-cutting method that could potentially save millions.

Not only would it make the Texan city a healthier place, it would also reduce health care and insurance costs.

â??Certainly we put tax payer dollars into health care for our employees,â?? Mayor Betsy Price told

â??And anything that might benefit the health and wealth and make our employees more productive and healthy weâ??re going to take a look atâ??, she added.

The idea has not met with approval from all of the cityâ??s residents. Some claim it would infringe on employeesâ?? rights.

â??I think it's an infringement on the public's rights to live their life the way they choose to,â?? Vince Chasteen, president of the city's employee association, said.

â??Non-smokers are probably healthier and probably would not use our insurance as much, but at the same time, excluding smokers I think is a real problem,â?? city councilman Frank Moss told CBSDFW.

â??I do have some concerns about a hiring policy that says you would not be able to hire a person that smokes,â?? he added. â??I think we may lose a lot of good people in the process by excluding smokers.â??

But Fort Worth City Manager Tom Higgins feels the idea should be considered.

â??Overall I think there was a strong belief that not only does it provide financial benefits for us and our health insurance, but to work with employees to get in a smoking cessation plan and just not to encourage it by hiring additional people,â?? he said.

Is it right to deny someone employment simply because they smoke? Would a ban on hiring smokers really reduce what they city is paying for health-care?