City employees could have to pay more for health insurance - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

City employees could have to pay more for health insurance if they use tobacco

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The city of Wilmington is trying to make Wilmington a tobacco-free workplace to help influence healthier lifestyles and cut down on insurance costs. The city of Wilmington is trying to make Wilmington a tobacco-free workplace to help influence healthier lifestyles and cut down on insurance costs.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – In an effort to cut down on costs and influence healthier lifestyles, employees with the city of Wilmington might have to give up a guilty and unhealthy habit.

City leaders are considering making Wilmington a tobacco-free workplace. Staff made the recommendation to prohibit employees from smoking and chewing tobacco at city facilities while on the clock.

According to staff, 18 percent of city employees currently use tobacco.

The city is considering an incentive program to get people to stop using the addictive substance. It would offer smoking cessation products as well as counseling and support services for those interested in quitting.

The city would also offer cheaper premiums for health insurance as a part of the incentive program.

City leaders didn't express any concerns with the idea at Monday's meeting.

Pending approval from city council, staff will begin to inform employees about the new policy in October and November of this year. They hope to make Wilmington tobacco-free by July 2014. Staff said that will give workers at least 20 months to quit smoking and using tobacco.

Smoking is currently banned on city property, but it is not heavily enforced.

This initiative is directed solely at city employees.

Tobacco use includes smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, herbal tobacco, vapor nicotine and chewing tobacco, according to staff.

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