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Smoke Screening Some employees have to take workplace smoking policies home with them.

By Chad Scheer

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Eric A. Nieves doesn't understand what all the fuss isabout. "Thousands of companies have implemented this,"says the director of human resources for the city of St. Cloud,Florida. In March, the city became one of a handful of Floridacities that are following the example of North Miami, which stoppedhiring tobacco users in 1990 and won the ensuing discriminationcase in the Florida Supreme Court in 1995.

The furor in media and workers' rights circles is fueled byhow far St. Cloud will go to ensure the rules are enforced. NorthMiami never asked applicants to sign affidavits. Nor does itmedically test them once they're hired. Though St. Clouddoesn't plan to regularly test anybody, it's still anoption for employees whose cheating becomes a problem.

The ACLU hopes this trend toward policing employees'lifestyle choices will stop with smoking, but employers nationwideare seeing new opportunities to both cut insurance costs andimprove employee productivity. The city of Athens, Georgia, hasalready considered regulations imposing similar guidelines forpeople with high cholesterol. "It's a very slippery slopewhen you start getting into those sort of lifestyle factors,"says Angie Brooks, chair of the ACLU's Central Floridachapter.