A controversial plan that would put smokers out of work in Fort Worth, Texas, has been officially snuffed out.
The City Council has decided against the proposal to require all hires to leave their cigarettes behind.
Instead, they’re now looking to curb the city’s habit by creating smoke-free perimeters and increasing health insurance premiums.
The suggestion to not hire smokers came from Mayor Betsy Price’s Big Idea Challenge, which encouraged city employees to suggest ways to save money, according to the Star Telegram.
A committee chose six of the best ideas and the winners split a $5,000 cash award.
James R. Scroggins, a city marshal from the Municipal Courts, suggested ‘making all city facilities tobacco-free and requiring that new hires be tobacco-free, resulting in greater employee productivity and lower healthcare costs.’
The idea may have come from nearby Baylor Health Care System’s new policy to ban the hiring of smokers, which went into effect January 1.
The 19,000-employee company hasn’t had any shortage of applicants, according to the Star Telegram.
In addition, a 2009 study by the Journal of Tobacco Policy and Research found that smokers take more sick days than nonsmokers, according to McClatchy Newspapers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also calculated each smoker adds $3,391 to costs: $1,760 in lost productivity and $1,623 in extra medical expenditures.