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No smoking

From Mary Snow

Wolf Blitzer Reports

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Banning smoking on company property is common. But Weyco in Michigan is banning workers from smoking altogether, even in the privacy of their homes.

The company is conducting mandatory testing to make sure employees are following the rules -- or else they're out.

It is more than a fight over smoking cigarettes. For former Weyco employee Cara Stiffler, quitting smoking is a fight about personal liberty.

"People shouldn't have to be forced to do something that they don't believe in as long as it's not going to hurt somebody," says Stiffler.

Stiffler and three other employees lost their jobs.

The medical benefits company says they resigned when they refused to take a breathalyzer test under new rules imposed on January 1.

Stiffler says she refused to stop smoking.

"I want to quit, but I want it to be on my terms, not someone forcing me to have to make that choice," she says.

The company says its ban on smoking is part of an overall wellness program that also encourages exercise. It says cutting medical insurance costs is one of the goals.

"This is an opportunity for employees at Wecyo to have the encouragement and incentive to stop a damaging habit," Weyco general counsel David Houston says.

Privacy advocates say the issue isn't about cigarettes.

"There is no law that prevents Weyco from doing this, but I think there's a problem when people can't do what they want to do in the privacy of their home," says Wendy Wagenhaim of the ACLU.

And the company says the issue is not privacy, but personal responsibility.

"There's not a liberty right or any other right to have any particular employment, and I think it's time for people in our country to start taking personal responsibility for many aspects of their life, including health care," Houston says.

But some question where a line can be drawn when it comes to people's health.

"Does it mean that you won't be able to sit in the sun because there is a possibility of skin cancer, or if you have children that there's an inherent danger in childbirth? Where does it go?" Wagenhaim asks.

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