Arizona County Workers Being Tested for Nicotine Use

Some county workers in Arizona are up in arms about a new health plan that requires them to undergo a saliva test to determine if they use nicotine.

The test is intended to reveal whether those being insured are smokers, according to a report in the Arizona Republic, and employees are divided on the subject.

Some who said no to the test are penalized with higher medical-insurance premiums, while those testing negative for tobacco use are spared a premium that is $480 higher per year.

Some county workers said they cannot afford to refuse the test. Others said they fear the medical information obtained from the exams will be used against them or shared with others.

A county spokeswoman said officials do not keep data on how much tobacco users cost to insure compared with non-tobacco users.

Information sent to county workers said the test results will be shared with the county's employee-benefits division, but will be kept confidential by staff trained in patient confidentiality.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here to read more from the Arizona Republic.