One way for employers to combat rising health insurance prices is to have a healthy work force. As this is much easier said than done, there has been difficult finding a way to effectively (and legally) improve employee health. The New York Times online has a blog post about employers punishing employees for smoking.
As the New York Times author points out, employers can punish employees for smoking and/or reward non-smokers; however, both avenues have their own pitfalls. The Times recently ended its practice of fining smokers who were enrolled in the company's health care plan. For more information see:
Many of these new policies are in response to the recent case of Grusendorf v. City of Oklahoma City. In that lawsuit, the City was sued over its anti-smoking policy, which resulted in a firefighter being terminated after allegedly smoking during his lunch break off site. The City's policy was ultimately upheld, which has emboldened companies to more aggressively pursue smoking policies.