Author Topic: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day  (Read 11073 times)

modulus

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Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« on: June 10, 2015, 04:34:03 PM »
So I am currently employed part time by a rather large company who shall remain unnamed.  Said company vowed to "quit" tobacco last year and made headlines nationwide.  Well, said company is now offering all employees $700 if they are able to stay tobacco free for a year ($200 at 6 months, $500 at 12 months).

Here's the catch - you have to test positive at baseline for anabasine via urine screen.  It also requires a $50 deposit which is returned at 1 year.

Is it bad that I am thinking of taking up smoking for a day, just to be able to enroll in the program?  Having never smoked, any suggestions on what I should indulge in?!  Maybe I can find some nice Cuban cigars...

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 04:38:10 PM »
Unethical as shit? Absolutely.

An impressively clever financial hack? Absolutely.

I'm so conflicted on this.

Would nicotine gum or a nicotine patch generate the same "false positive" in your pee? Actually smoking is pretty awful if you are a non-smoker.

AJ

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 04:42:02 PM »
Well, I expect you will have to inhale the smoke to get strong enough effects to test positive - so probably don't want to waste good cigars on that :)

It seems rather fraudulent, though. Stealing bread to feed your kids is one thing, but faking an addiction to squeeze out $700 to put towards FIRE doesn't sound above board. You'd be taking advantage of a program that sounds like it will actually help people.

yyc-phil

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 04:46:48 PM »
I won't make any moral judgment here. Some people think it is unethical to churn credit cards, or eat beef, or ride horses, so each their own. From a financial perspective, it's a quick and easy way to make $700. Go for it.

Add: you can't use smoking cessation or nicotine replacement aids because anabasine does not show when using those.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 04:48:31 PM by ykphil »
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iknowiyam

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2015, 04:47:51 PM »
Is it the OP or the company that is being unethical?

http://conscienhealth.org/2013/11/ted-kyle-on-msnbc-3-ethical-issues-for-wellness-programs/

There are a lot of debates surrounding the ethics of the corporate wellness incentives.
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trailrated

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2015, 05:00:48 PM »
So I am currently employed part time by a rather large company who shall remain unnamed.  Said company vowed to "quit" tobacco last year and made headlines nationwide.  Well, said company is now offering all employees $700 if they are able to stay tobacco free for a year ($200 at 6 months, $500 at 12 months).

Here's the catch - you have to test positive at baseline for anabasine via urine screen.  It also requires a $50 deposit which is returned at 1 year.

Is it bad that I am thinking of taking up smoking for a day, just to be able to enroll in the program?  Having never smoked, any suggestions on what I should indulge in?!  Maybe I can find some nice Cuban cigars...

Lol!!! Fucking awesome, I say do it. That is hilarious
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Bajadoc

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2015, 05:22:00 PM »
Do it and donate half to charity. Win win.

Eleden

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2015, 05:40:02 PM »
I probably wouldn't do it simply because your healthcare provider could take action if you test positive for smoking and have claimed to not be a smoker. Not sure what action they would/could take, but they may raise your rates or potentially drop your coverage. Just one thing to think about.

Full Beard

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2015, 05:41:30 PM »
I would definitely do it!  That is pretty awesome.  My bet is that you won't be the only one smoking for just one day.
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dragoncar

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2015, 05:45:00 PM »
I'd do it.  The money is probably coming from some other budget that would have helped you, like the "employee appreciation luncheon."

I wouldn't purposely gain weight to win the weight loss contest, though.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2015, 05:54:41 PM »
Employers normally run these kinds of incentive programs because it lowers their health insurance costs if employees quit smoking.

I would not have an ethical problem with claiming the money (after all, as a non smoker, you lower the bill for everyone else) - but chances are that you claimed to be a non-smoker on various health insurance and possibly life insurance forms. The risk of insurance retribution is low, but still... In the end, I probably wouldn't do it.

Friar

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2015, 02:59:48 AM »
Alternatively you could get the urine of someone who currently smokes and use that as the initial sample. Obtaining it from source could lead to a few awkward questions though.

I suggest putting on a white lab coat, standing in the toilet with a clipboard and some urine pots, and handing them out to likely subjects claiming it's "for science".

GuitarStv

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2015, 05:44:38 AM »
Unethical as shit? Absolutely.

I don't think it's ethical of the company to reward only the addicts they employ.  The money for this program should have been spent towards things that help all employees.

goatmom

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2015, 06:04:56 AM »
Since you have to lie to get the money - I wouldn't do it.  But, I support any program that helps people quit smoking after watching a family member die way too young from a smoking related cancer.

GuitarStv

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2015, 06:17:30 AM »
Since you have to lie to get the money - I wouldn't do it.  But, I support any program that helps people quit smoking after watching a family member die way too young from a smoking related cancer.

If he smokes before doing the program then he's a smoker.  What exactly is he lying about?

Friar

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2015, 07:17:29 AM »
Since you have to lie to get the money - I wouldn't do it.  But, I support any program that helps people quit smoking after watching a family member die way too young from a smoking related cancer.

If he smokes before doing the program then he's a smoker.  What exactly is he lying about?

I think most people would equate the term smoker to "habitual smoker". Technically he wouldn't be lying but it wouldn't be within the spirit of the law.

deborah

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2015, 07:46:14 AM »
Will only one day of smoking give the right urine levels? He might also want to check whether his urine gives false positives (he wouldn't want to be told at the end of the year that he was still a smoker).

Of course, it is up to him whether the day of smoking is actually worth $700 to him. It wouldn't be worth it to me!

iowajes

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2015, 08:04:30 AM »
It wouldn't be worth it to me!

I agree. I'd need a lot more money than that.

iowajes

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2015, 08:06:52 AM »

I wouldn't purposely gain weight to win the weight loss contest, though.

My husband has stopped participating in his company's weight loss contest because he thinks it encourages unhealthy behavior. The same person has won it 4 years in a row.  The guy has actually weighed in heavier each successive year.  He is well beyond "morbidly obese". 

He is just really good at crash dieting for 2 months and losing a ton of weight (and since he is SO heavy, he has a ton to lose...many people can't afford to lose such high percentages of their body weight). Which he then immediately gains back and then some, and then some more.

Now, he isn't gaining weight purposefully to start the contest; but he is doing absolutely nothing to "get healthy" which is the purpose of it.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2015, 08:24:30 AM »
Unethical as shit? Absolutely.

I don't think it's ethical of the company to reward only the addicts they employ.  The money for this program should have been spent towards things that help all employees.
Well, in many ways, getting the smokers to become ex-smokers does help everyone in the company through better insurance rates. Possibly also increased productivity through a decrease in smoke breaks? (I don't know if smokers are, on average, less productive than non-smokers.) I get your point, but what programs would benefit all employees? I can't think of any wellness incentive program that isn't going to disproportionately benefit folks who are less healthy to begin with.

GuitarStv

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2015, 08:33:13 AM »
As has been pointed out, wellness incentive programs of this sort don't encourage healthier behavior.  A program that would benefit all employees equally would be something like free use of a gym, maybe free healthy foods (fruit/veggies) in place of donuts in the office, things of that sort.

Friar

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2015, 11:43:29 AM »
Some of you may be aware of it, but there is an App called "Pact" that basically pays you to exercise and eat more healthily. The core function is that you say you'll do, say, 4 periods of exercise and eat 10 fresh fruit and veg. At the end of the week for each one you miss Pact automatically takes $5 from your PayPal account. If you succeed in your commitment you'll get a share of the money made from people failing theirs. The premise is that you're more inclined to do something if you're at risk of losing money, rather than just being rewarded for doing it.

How does this tie into the thread?

I have read that instead of committing yourself to the Pact, your workplace can sign up and each activity you do lowers your health insurance deductible. 

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3037347/this-app-will-raise-or-lower-your-insurance-deductible-based-on-physical-activity

I can't vouch for how widespread it is, or how effective it is as I'm an Englishman in the UK but it does seem like a decent incentive to get people being more healthy.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2015, 11:50:45 AM »
Do it and donate half to charity. Win win.

Is that like buying indulgences?

dragoncar

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2015, 11:54:50 AM »
Unethical as shit? Absolutely.

I don't think it's ethical of the company to reward only the addicts they employ.  The money for this program should have been spent towards things that help all employees.
Well, in many ways, getting the smokers to become ex-smokers does help everyone in the company through better insurance rates. Possibly also increased productivity through a decrease in smoke breaks? (I don't know if smokers are, on average, less productive than non-smokers.) I get your point, but what programs would benefit all employees? I can't think of any wellness incentive program that isn't going to disproportionately benefit folks who are less healthy to begin with.

The fair alternative Is simply to offer a "health incentive bonus" -- announce on X date that everyone who tests negative gets the bonus.  If you already don't smoke, you are rewarded.  If you quit smoking you are rewarded.  I guess that means the bonuses would be smaller

Gone Fishing

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2015, 11:55:51 AM »

Add: you can't use smoking cessation or nicotine replacement aids because anabasine does not show when using those.

If that is the case, can all the smokers "quit" by slapping a patch on a few days/weeks/months before the retest?

I wonder what the long term success rates of programs like these are?

When I was a teenager I remember my youth group leader being all strung out because he quit dipping to buy more life insurance, I'm pretty sure he went right back to it ASAP. 

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2015, 12:33:16 PM »
Unethical as shit? Absolutely.

I don't think it's ethical of the company to reward only the addicts they employ.  The money for this program should have been spent towards things that help all employees.
Well, in many ways, getting the smokers to become ex-smokers does help everyone in the company through better insurance rates. Possibly also increased productivity through a decrease in smoke breaks? (I don't know if smokers are, on average, less productive than non-smokers.) I get your point, but what programs would benefit all employees? I can't think of any wellness incentive program that isn't going to disproportionately benefit folks who are less healthy to begin with.

The fair alternative Is simply to offer a "health incentive bonus" -- announce on X date that everyone who tests negative gets the bonus.  If you already don't smoke, you are rewarded.  If you quit smoking you are rewarded.  I guess that means the bonuses would be smaller
You're right, that's a fairer way to reward for a behavior the company wants to encourage. Would it be as effective in changing entrenched/habitual behavior? I dunno. Is anything going to motivate a smoker to quit until that smoker is damned well ready? I dunno. But I think probably not.

Have there been any studies on how effective these kinds of incentive programs actually are? Anyone know?

The Lone Mainer

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2015, 12:39:07 PM »
I think most people would equate the term smoker to "habitual smoker". Technically he wouldn't be lying but it wouldn't be within the spirit of the law.

You're not wrong, but I've also seen people who aren't habitual pot smokers be fired from office jobs because they got high at a Phish concert and people who aren't habitual tobacco smokers get classified as "tobacco users" for insurance purposes because they get drunk and have a smoke once every six months.

It's always the same big companies with accountants for HR directors that do this shit. I say make 'em pay!

Friar

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2015, 01:37:23 PM »
You're not wrong, but I've also seen people who aren't habitual pot smokers be fired from office jobs because they got high at a Phish concert and people who aren't habitual tobacco smokers get classified as "tobacco users" for insurance purposes because they get drunk and have a smoke once every six months.

It's always the same big companies with accountants for HR directors that do this shit. I say make 'em pay!

I suppose I should consider myself fortunate to have a workplace that doesn't provide healthcare to non-management and, as such, don't require us to relinquish health details.

If it has no impact on the job at hand then it shouldn't matter what people do in their spare time. Get high? Go for it, as long as you're fine to work. Want to get blind drunk at the weekend? No problem! Provided you're in on Monday and able to perform to your fullest.

snogirl

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2015, 01:37:45 PM »
No way would I buy cigarettes or smoke them (even for just a day) in order to make $700 in a year ($58.33 a month).


dragoncar

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2015, 02:40:34 PM »
No way would I buy cigarettes or smoke them (even for just a day) in order to make $700 in a year ($58.33 a month).

Why?  You don't amortize over the whole year, just the hour or so you were "working"

Maigahane

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2015, 03:14:24 PM »
I can't think of any wellness incentive program that isn't going to disproportionately benefit folks who are less healthy to begin with.
DH's work does health screenings every year and assign points based on the results and you can a 10% or 20% discount on your health insurance premiums based on how many points you get. I'm not sure how it is now but at one point smoking lost you just enough points that the most you could qualify for was 10%.

They also offer a free gym with free personal trainers for all employees, spouses, and dependents and very cheap fruits on the honor system

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2015, 03:42:35 PM »
I can't think of any wellness incentive program that isn't going to disproportionately benefit folks who are less healthy to begin with.
DH's work does health screenings every year and assign points based on the results and you can a 10% or 20% discount on your health insurance premiums based on how many points you get. I'm not sure how it is now but at one point smoking lost you just enough points that the most you could qualify for was 10%.

They also offer a free gym with free personal trainers for all employees, spouses, and dependents and very cheap fruits on the honor system
This seems eminently sensible if the goal is to encourage long-term health promoting behaviors, not just short term changes to hack a reward. If my husband had a similar situation, we might qualify for something like $140 a month in discounts on health insurance - enough to motivate us for sure!

snogirl

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2015, 05:23:58 PM »
No way would I buy cigarettes or smoke them (even for just a day) in order to make $700 in a year ($58.33 a month).

Why?  You don't amortize over the whole year, just the hour or so you were "working"
It is a disgusting, addictive habit that kills people.
I guess I'm not the OP so I don't have to worry about it. If they want to score $700 puffing chemicals go for it.
I do get its only an hour or so though :)

.22guy

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2015, 05:25:54 PM »
Don't do it.  Some things are just not worth it.  Besides what if it doesn't work?  (not enough of the chemicals in your urine)

dragoncar

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2015, 06:17:57 PM »
Don't do it.  Some things are just not worth it.  Besides what if it doesn't work?  (not enough of the chemicals in your urine)

No way would I buy cigarettes or smoke them (even for just a day) in order to make $700 in a year ($58.33 a month).

Why?  You don't amortize over the whole year, just the hour or so you were "working"
It is a disgusting, addictive habit that kills people.
I guess I'm not the OP so I don't have to worry about it. If they want to score $700 puffing chemicals go for it.
I do get its only an hour or so though :)


I don't smoke, but I'm sure the harm of doing it for one day is less than spending an evening camping with a beautiful campfire blowing smoke in my face.  And I do that for free!

forummm

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2015, 08:57:45 AM »
I wouldn't be able to inhale. I'd have to use the patch or something. But the $700 isn't worth the risk I'd get hooked on the nicotine.

Bob W

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #36 on: June 13, 2015, 09:58:09 AM »
Uum?  You realize smoking is more addictive than heroin right?
Better living through math.

Exflyboy

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #37 on: June 13, 2015, 10:18:26 AM »
There is now way on Earth I'd do smoking.. ever.

Suppose you have been exposed to second hand smoke.. suppose your body is on the verge of lung cancer and this put you over the edge.. OK unlikely but F that!

Oh and there is the question of future health insurance.

Sorry but I got 1 body and a measly $700 wouldn't come close to what they'd have to pay me to smoke.

dragoncar

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #38 on: June 13, 2015, 10:46:20 AM »
Uum?  You realize smoking is more addictive than heroin right?

If true, I guess that just means heroin is way less addictive than the PSAs would lead you to believe?  I know plenty of people who have smoked a handful of times but never made it a regular thing.

forummm

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2015, 11:54:10 AM »
Uum?  You realize smoking is more addictive than heroin right?

If true, I guess that just means heroin is way less addictive than the PSAs would lead you to believe?  I know plenty of people who have smoked a handful of times but never made it a regular thing.

I think the nicotine and opioid addictions are hard to compare.

Opioids (and heroin in particular since it's so refined and bioactive) are very intensely negative to come off of, but once you're clean (if you're a regular user, it's a few days of feeling more terrible than a really bad flu) you aren't addicted anymore. What's happening is the opioid receptors in the brain want to continue to be bound to the opioid chemicals, so you feel terrible while they are slowly detaching. And doing more heroin fills the receptors so you instantly feel great again--hence the addiction.

Nicotine changes your brain chemistry long term, and can take a very long time to go back to normal (if ever). It also has other habits involved (social events, drinking, sex, break times, etc) that are really hard to rewire. You're constantly being pinged by triggers to go smoke. And while you're using tobacco, your satisfying the nicotine addiction. When your nicotine source slows, you start feeling anxious, on edge, etc. The symptoms are less bad than heroin, but the effect lasts longer than just a few days.

carolinecole

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #40 on: June 13, 2015, 01:51:27 PM »
Well, I expect you will have to inhale the smoke to get strong enough effects to test positive - so probably don't want to waste good cigars on that :)

It seems rather fraudulent, though. Stealing bread to feed your kids is one thing, but faking an addiction to squeeze out $700 to put towards FIRE doesn't sound above board. You'd be taking advantage of a program that sounds like it will actually help people.

This program may actually help people, but if they quit smoking then they would already be saving substantial money not buying cigarettes/cigars.  Maybe actually receiving money seems different to most people than having the same amount of extra money by not spending it? 
I personally would go for it, if I knew it wouldn't affect my healthcare costs.

FIRE me

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #41 on: June 14, 2015, 07:18:55 PM »
Since you have to lie to get the money - I wouldn't do it.  But, I support any program that helps people quit smoking after watching a family member die way too young from a smoking related cancer.

If he smokes before doing the program then he's a smoker.  What exactly is he lying about?

So what will he say when they ask how long he has been a smoker?
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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #42 on: June 14, 2015, 07:22:37 PM »
Employers normally run these kinds of incentive programs because it lowers their health insurance costs if employees quit smoking.

I would not have an ethical problem with claiming the money (after all, as a non smoker, you lower the bill for everyone else) - but chances are that you claimed to be a non-smoker on various health insurance and possibly life insurance forms. The risk of insurance retribution is low, but still... In the end, I probably wouldn't do it.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
    This.

And, I would be surprised if the OP is not asked how long he has been a smoker. A scam like that could be a career ending (or at least a job ending) decision.
FIRE'd on January 4, 2017

GuitarStv

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #43 on: June 15, 2015, 07:31:40 AM »
Since you have to lie to get the money - I wouldn't do it.  But, I support any program that helps people quit smoking after watching a family member die way too young from a smoking related cancer.

If he smokes before doing the program then he's a smoker.  What exactly is he lying about?

So what will he say when they ask how long he has been a smoker?

Dunno what he would report.  I'd say that I took up smoking as part of the company health initiative because of the perverse way they're awarding the money.

dragoncar

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #44 on: June 15, 2015, 11:11:41 AM »
Since you have to lie to get the money - I wouldn't do it.  But, I support any program that helps people quit smoking after watching a family member die way too young from a smoking related cancer.

If he smokes before doing the program then he's a smoker.  What exactly is he lying about?

So what will he say when they ask how long he has been a smoker?

Dunno what he would report.  I'd say that I took up smoking as part of the company health initiative because of the perverse way they're awarding the money.

Nobody will care that he just started smoking as long as the TPS report is properly filled out

GuitarStv

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #45 on: June 15, 2015, 11:23:48 AM »
TPS: The Person Smoking

:D

bb11

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #46 on: June 19, 2015, 02:06:53 PM »
Uh, if this were available at my company I would be following your plan.

ambimammular

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #47 on: June 20, 2015, 05:18:11 PM »
Some of you may be aware of it, but there is an App called "Pact" that basically pays you to exercise and eat more healthily. The core function is that you say you'll do, say, 4 periods of exercise and eat 10 fresh fruit and veg. At the end of the week for each one you miss Pact automatically takes $5 from your PayPal account. If you succeed in your commitment you'll get a share of the money made from people failing theirs. The premise is that you're more inclined to do something if you're at risk of losing money, rather than just being rewarded for doing it.

How does this tie into the thread?

I have read that instead of committing yourself to the Pact, your workplace can sign up and each activity you do lowers your health insurance deductible. 

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3037347/this-app-will-raise-or-lower-your-insurance-deductible-based-on-physical-activity

I can't vouch for how widespread it is, or how effective it is as I'm an Englishman in the UK but it does seem like a decent incentive to get people being more healthy.

I am lazy as shit and this would totally work on me! Love it!!

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #48 on: June 20, 2015, 10:42:19 PM »
This thread gives me ideas.   How about telling your wife to start wearing a pillow under her shirt at work and tell everyone she is pregnant.   Both of you would get leave from work and free vacation time when her *baby* arrives.

Seems fair since they give this to some employees already but not others, just like the smoking bonus thing.

GuitarStv

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Re: Getting paid $700 to smoke for a day
« Reply #49 on: June 21, 2015, 01:43:45 PM »
This thread gives me ideas.   How about telling your wife to start wearing a pillow under her shirt at work and tell everyone she is pregnant.   Both of you would get leave from work and free vacation time when her *baby* arrives.

Seems fair since they give this to some employees already but not others, just like the smoking bonus thing.

In your  scenario, the employee is lying that they are pregnant.  In the original post the employer is starting smoking to quit.  Purposely getting pregnant to take advantage of parental leave is morally closer to what was being proposed initially, which is A-OK.