On the heels of making a pitch for healthier life styles in its recent television ads, Blue Cross of California--the state's largest health insurer--has decided to promote healthier life styles among its 5,000 employees by imposing a ban on smoking at all of its facilities.
Blue Cross President Leonard D. Schaeffer, a nonsmoker, said that the policy has been in effect for about two weeks for 1,000 workers at Blue Cross' Oakland headquarters and that the requirement was expanded to other sites last Friday.
"To allow smoking in an office environment is not consistent with our company's commitment to the promotion of healthier life styles," Schaeffer said in a prepared statement.
"In addition to providing a safe and healthful environment, smoke-free work locations will help increase productivity and reduce illness."
Blue Cross spokeswoman Sharrell Blakeley said she had no estimate of how many of the company's employees smoke. And she said the company would not refuse to hire smokers in the future.