Boy, do you stink!

It seems that smokers in some states are not getting hired by hospitals now, due to decreased productivity and increased costs, according to an article in The New York Times, This is going to cause quite a stink legally, I bet.  Here is a blurb from the ASHP Daily Briefing:

“In a front-page story, the New York Times (2/11, A1, Sulzberger) reports that “more hospitals and medical businesses in many states are adopting strict policies that make smoking a reason to turn away job applicants, saying they want to increase worker productivity, reduce healthcare costs and encourage healthier living.” These “policies reflect a frustration that softer efforts — like banning smoking on company grounds, offering cessation programs, and increasing healthcare premiums for smokers — have not been powerful-enough incentives to quit.” According to the Times, “hospitals in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas, among others, stopped hiring smokers in the last year and more are openly considering the option.””

While I agree financially that smokers CAN be less productive and more expensive, I don’t feel they should be kept from jobs. I think that not allowing smoke breaks would help. Smokers should not get more smoke breaks than other employees, and their employment could be contingent on adhering to those rules. And how are they going to identify smokers? Is there a sniff test? What if their spouse smokes and the applicant’s clothes smell like smoke? I don’t feel that a nicotine test is warranted, and it is a violation of someone’s personal life. If someone wants to sit in their house and smoke themselves to death, let them. If they want to go out on the weekend and have a couple of cigarettes with their cocktails, let them. Offer them help if they WANT to quit, but don’t keep them from earning a living because they smoke. Many prior alcoholics substitute smoking for alcohol. While I don’t think this fixes the problem, it is a lesser evil as far as the rest of society goes, assuming they smoke in their own home or car. So many arguments for or against, but this is not a drug that kills others when used in private.

Lastly, what happens to people who do smoke? Are they fired? Would that be right to tell someone they will lose their job if they don’t quit smoking in their personal time?