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Smoking opposition says no to surcharge

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.

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.