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4 anti-smoking groups oppose smoking surcharge for state employees


MADISON ,WI (WTAQ) - Four anti-smoking groups say a surcharge on health insurance is the wrong way to try and get those hooked on cigarettes to kick the habit.

Governor Scott Walker’s budget would require state employees to sign affidavits promising that they don’t smoke – or else they’d get hit with a $50 a month surcharge on their health plans.

Smoke Free Wisconsin is against the fee – and so are the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. They say there’s very little evidence to prove that financial penalties, or incentives cause smokers to quit.

But administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis says smokers cost a-third more to insure than non-smokers.

She told the Wisconsin State Journal the proposed fee would affect 10 percent of the state government workforce, and it would save taxpayers around $2.7 million over the next two years.