Arizona county mulls not hiring smokers

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Pima County is considering no longer hiring smokers, and putting a price on workers who do smoke.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors will vote later this month on a policy that would refuse the hiring of any smokers.

The proposal would also impose a 30 percent health-insurance surcharge on employees who smoke or consumer other tobacco products.

County health officials say the policy could lead to more than $1 million in savings annually in health-care costs.

The county estimates 32 percent of its more than 2,000 workers are tobacco users.

But some say essentially prohibiting employees from smoking on their personal time goes too far and could be seen as discrimination.

The board is scheduled to vote Dec. 16.

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