The University System of Georgia (USG) has a state-wide initiative aimed at increasing the well-being of faculty and staff by deincentivizing the use of tobacco products by employees who are covered by a USG healthcare plan. This incentive is positive in that aid in stopping tobacco product usage is offered to each member; and negative in that each member who is a tobacco product user is penalized. A healthcare surcharge is added to the monthly health insurance premium paid by each faculty/staff member for themselves and covered dependents over 18 years of age who are tobacco product users. The current policy considers covered employees and their applicable dependents to be users of tobacco products unless they annually opt-out. This paper includes summaries of the incidence of cigarette and tobacco product usage in the U.S., a summary of USG’s policies related to the current tobacco initiative, a brief literature review regarding opt-in and opt-out programs, and a discussion of the possible negative impact of the current USG tobacco use policy. Support is provided for the present tobacco surcharge penalty being either eliminated or its implementation changed, and for the current opt-out default being changed to an opt-in program.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

ref_GCPA2021370105.pdf (167 kB)
Supplemental Reference List with DOIs