Health Magazine

From NINA to NSNA: No Smokers Need Apply

By Dirkh @dirk57

From NINA to NSNA: No Smokers Need Apply Smoke-free workplace or job discrimination?
It started with hospitals and medical businesses. As more and more states adopted strict policies about smoking, state courts began to bump up against a vexing question—the legal system is being called upon to adjudicate the legality of refusing to hire smokers.
The issue has split the anti-smoking world into two camps, and shines light on the fundamental question: Is it legal to discriminate against tobacco consumers, usually known as smokers, for the use of a lawful product? Will courts uphold cases where employees have been fired for “smelling of smoke”?
20% of Americans continue to smoke. As the New York Times puts it, a shift from “smoke-free” to “smoker-free” workplaces reflects the general feeling that “softer efforts—like banning smoking on company grounds, offering cessation programs and increasing health care premiums for smokers—have not been powerful-enough incentives to quit.”
Join Together reports that under new “tobacco-free” hiring policies, “applicants can be turned away for smoking, or if they are caught smoking after hire. Policies differ by company, but some require applicants to take urine tests for nicotine.”
The chief executive of St. Francis Medical center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, which recently stopped hiring smokers, said that it was “unfair for employees who maintained healthy lifestyles to have to subsidize those who do not. Essentially that’s what happens.”
The American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and the World Health Organization (WHO) do not hire smokers. However, the American Legacy Group, an anti-smoking advocacy organization that does hire tobacco users, argues that “smokers are not the enemy.” In the words of Ellen Vargyas, the group’s chief counsel,  “the best thing we can do is help them quit, not condition employment on whether they quit.”
As Dr. Michael Siegel of  the Boston University School of Public Health told the New York Times: “Unemployment is also bad for health.”
The issue has broader implications, as yet imperfectly explored. Will it become legal to discriminate against alcohol and drug users in general? How about junk food? Should a company be forced to saddle itself with the likely health costs associated with a junk food junkie?
And so on. This one bears watching.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Practicing Empathy

    Embed from Getty ImagesBrené Brown is a researcher who has specialized in studying shame for most of her career. Her recent book, I Thought It Was Just Me (but... Read more

    5 hours, 45 minutes ago by   Candacemoody
  • Chilli Update

    Chilli Update

    You might recall that about a month ago I sowed seeds of 20 different varieties of chilli. They germinated at different rates, keeping me guessing (and... Read more

    6 hours, 36 minutes ago by   Mwillis
  • Sophie & Scotts Wedding at Athelhampton House

    Sophie Scotts Wedding Athelhampton House

    Athelhampton House Wedding Athelhampton House weddings are regular features scattered throughout our diary. A familiar venue that keeps giving fresh imagery as ... Read more

    6 hours, 47 minutes ago by   Linusm
  • "I Am Worth More Than My Self Doubt"

    Worth More Than Self Doubt"

    Top of the Monday morning to you! We're finally back in Atlanta today after getting in early yesterday, grabbing the kids and then running home, unpacking, had ... Read more

    6 hours, 53 minutes ago by   Cait
  • Signs of the Times

    Signs Times

    America’s phallic affair with guns should give us pause to wonder what the true motivation is. My wife sent me an NPR story on the World Peace and Unification... Read more

    9 hours, 30 minutes ago by   Steveawiggins
  • Heart Valve Replacement: How to Prepare

    Heart Valve Replacement: Prepare

    Overview Before you undergoe the heart replacement surgery to replace a heart valve, you will need to prepare for your hospital stay. Read more

    10 hours, 2 minutes ago by   Allyson3james
  • Blood and Tourism in Kashmir

    The previous summer, amid an overnight transport trip from New Delhi to Srinagar—the mid-year capital of the Indian-controlled condition of Jammu and Kashmir—I... Read more

    10 hours, 9 minutes ago by   Amar Rana