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Ochsner CEO Rails Against Smoking

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 9, 2012

"We have a tobacco cessation person we are hiring to run our program but we could not stipulate that the person who leads this had to be a nonsmoker. That is kind of bizarre," he says.

The physician-executive says laws protecting smokers work at cross purposes with societal efforts to reduce healthcare costs. Studies show that smokers can cost employers as much as $3,400 a year in increased healthcare costs and lost productivity. "Often at the local, state, and federal level there is this intense scrutiny on the cost of healthcare. Yet we are particularly silent on the leading cost of avoidable death and disease in this country," he says.

"Our position is, if government can't help in this regard, at least get out of the way of employers and employees trying to decide how they best can preserve benefits for everybody."

"The broader issue is we see what is happening with healthcare costs. We really need to avoid those diseases that we have control over so we can save the benefit and costs for those who have diseases for which they have no control."

As resolute as he is against smoking and its destructive costs, Quinlan is also puzzled by the view of some that the battle for a smokeless society has already been won. "Smoking is embedded in this country and we need to recognize that it is a battle thought to have been won but it is far from over," he says.

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31 comments on "Ochsner CEO Rails Against Smoking"


wooli (5/23/2012 at 9:20 PM)
"'the poorer...the blacker''how condesending.Ihear the desancendents of the founders at Ochsner think he is a charlentin.

weelo (5/23/2012 at 6:14 PM)
How Condesending.

Poor Mentally Ill smoker (5/22/2012 at 11:01 PM)
Most say that they cant beleive he said this . OH YES HE DID GO THERE. Who is filing the calss action Law suit on behalf of the poor, Black , And mentally ill ,which will be alot of poor black mentally challenged people cause thats going to hurt there pockets more than anything .Him stepping down wasnt from his copmments its been in the works for 18 months come on people do you beleive that horse manure. He thoughtit and said it so that must be his feelings that he says are statistics ,I heard on local tv an news commentator read the study that Quinlan said the information was from and it wasnt said like Quinlan said it !!!!!!!!!.