With the new year approaching it’s time to say goodbye to old, naughty habits and strive to live a healthier, happier 2012!
The New Year marks a time when smoking will not only be a habit that harms the body, but also harms the wallet.
2012 brings in a few new health policy changes. One being that the nations largest private employer, Wal-Mart, will begin charging an annual insurance penalty fee to employees who smoke. The plan isn’t totally malicious. To help smokers ditch the habit, Wal-Mart will also be offering free smoking cessation assistance.
Many of us have heard of employers positively rewarding employees for positive health changes via insurance rates. So what is the reaction for these monetary consequences?
According to an NPR-Thomson Reuters Health Poll of over 3,000 adults, 59 percent agree that smokers should be penalized by paying higher insurance fees. Taking annual income and education into account, the numbers rise.
Seventy-five percent of those who make $100,000 or more per year agree with charging higher insurance rates for smokers, while 70 percent of college-degree holders agree.
This new penalty begs the question: If it’s okay to make smokers pay more for health insurance, is it also okay to penalize those who make different negative health decisions?
If you or your loved ones need more incentive to choose to quit smoking for your new year’s resolution, chew on these CDC facts:
Almost 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. are caused by cigarette smoking, adding up to about 443,000 deaths a year.
In fact, the CDC states that, “more deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.”
Smoking causes more than ten different kinds of cancers.
According to CNN, the most effective way to quit smoking is by utilizing both counseling and medication. The benefits of quitting include lower blood pressure, breathing with greater ease, a decreased risk of cancer and heart disease and an overall better quality of life, among many others.