SARASOTA — Citing the burden they place on taxpayers who pay for government workers' health insurance, Sarasota County officials announced Monday that they no longer will hire smokers.
Sarasota County officials cited Centers for Disease Control research that put the annual cost of hiring a smoker at $3,400 a year in lost productivity and medical expenses.
The county currently pays about $31 million annually in health benefits for 3,600 employees, or $8,600 per worker.
"We could potentially lose some very valuable employees but all things being equal it's probably a good thing," she said.
Ley said 15 percent of the county's employees with severe illnesses account for 85 percent of the health care costs.