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Smoking opposition says no to surcharge

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Four anti-smoking groups say a surcharge on health insurance is the wrong way to try and get those hooked on cigarettes to quit smoking.

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Governor Scott Walker's budget would require state employees to sign affidavits promising that they don't smoke or get hit with a $50-dollar-a-month surcharge on their health plans.

Against the fee are Smoke-Free Wisconsin, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. They say there's very little evidence to prove that financial penalties or incentives cause smokers to quit.

Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis says smokers cost a third more to insure than non-smokers. She told the "Wisconsin State Journal" the proposed fee would affect 10% of the state government workforce, and it would save taxpayers around $2.7 million over the next two years.

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