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Sunday, November 2

Where there's smoke there's fire.


Pasco County looks at changing hiring
polices that would effectively ban hiring people
who smoke in attempts to create a smoke free
work force.


The Suncoast Pasco News ran an article stating the following: Dade City, among others is looking into the idea of banning the hiring of those who smoke cigarettes and creating a program for those who are currently on their payroll to kick the habit.

This has been presented as an attempt to lower their health insurance cost which it certainly will accomplish. It will also clean up the county vehicles; anyone who does not smoke and who has gotten into a vehicle of a smoker knows what I am talking about. But there are other benefits as well including less missed time due to health reasons. The article went on to say smokers use medical insurance benefits 50% more often than non-smokers.

Two sheriff offices in Pasco and Pinellas counties have already implemented such bans and seem to have been successful. Many other places of employment are looking at ways to reduce their health insurance cost as well. Given the state of the economy, more and more companies and governmental employers are looking at ways to reduce costs and one can not blame them.

There may be, however, an underlying problem with this type of policy. The EEOC states that an employer can not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, gender, religious belief, sexual orientation, creed, disability, age, appearance, etc. etc. but cigarette smoking is not listed. However, neither is the consumption of alcohol. Though many companies can and do drug test their employees or potential employees and utilize the information gained as criteria for employment, cigarettes and alcohol are not included. They are only testing for drugs and we must remember that drugs are illegal. Although testing of cigarette usage is very new, it seems to be on the rise and one of the latest attempt to save a dollar, yet it remains a legal substance.

If the goal is saving money, why stop at cigarette smokers. Why not include those who consume alcohol. I think everyone can agree that those who drink are more apt to miss work from a hangover than those who don’t. They are more likely to develop liver problems. Not to mention, if they happen to be driving a company vehicle and have a drink. You would not run that risk with someone who never drinks alcohol. And then there those that are overweight. Recent information has suggested that people who are morbidly obese are actually at a higher risk of health problems than those who smoke. Should employers have the right to demand that people lose weight? Remember this is about saving money, but at what cost.




Currently it is legal to drink and smoke cigarettes and there are those who over indulge when it comes to food. However, it would seem that in the name of saving a few dollars, people may have to change their lives in order to retain employment. While this seems like a win-win, I am not so sure it is.

Some time ago, perhaps twenty to thirty years, the anit-smoking movement began and now we all can safely belittle and look down at smokers. I think that’s fine but what happens when it becomes one of your vices. What if an anti-alcohol movement comes along. You may be forced into a position of having to gives up one of your vices so that you may retain your job or be eligible for employment. It may seem that your particular vice is safe but think again. Less than thirty years ago, cigarette smoking was the in thing.
Today one is ostracized for such behavior. Will alcohol be next?

Should employers be allowed to utilize smoking as criteria for employment? Furthermore, would you be okay with employers or potential employers utilizing alcohol as a criteria for employment and using the same argument? How far into our personal lives should employers be allowed to delve?

136 comments:

Athena Smith said...

The student "HOT BLONDE" emailed me the following comment:
"I have mixed feelings about this topic due to a few reasons. Since the whole idead of this is to save money, I think it is an excelent idea. Everyone must realize that this "pinch" is being felt by everyone. If you look at the stastistics about the percentage of people that have tried to quit, it will further boost the support for this movement. I personally have been looking into the sheriffs department, and they have a zero policy on tobacco.
I know people will say what about alcohol? Alcohol is not something that is brought to the workplace and done throughout the day. I know smokers feel like they are being picked on, but the majority of smokers have ruined this for them all. Many smokers are very inconsiderate. They flick their butts wherever the feel like, blow smoke near people, and countless other things. People should look at their alternatives. They could quit smoking and keep their job or keep smoking somewhere else. I personally was addicted to nicotine, so I know exactly how hard it is, but it is not impossible."

Darren L. said...

In my opinion i really don't think they should be allowed to do that. I think that they are using a loop hole in the laws that can allow them to do this. How long is it until they can force other rules upon people, such as specific hair, or tattoos, yes you do say they can't discriminate against appearance, but how do you actually define appearance. Also, even though smokers and drinkers are usually less healthier than normal people, it is an indulgent that they have the right to have, and if done in moderation, has no real effects at all. I just think that there are too many external factors along with the pressure of the hiring process.

Ashley Michelle said...

I do not think they should be able to do that. I work with tons of people who smoke cigarettes, and even though it does bother me when they have to take smoke breaks, those people are still hard workers and devote themselves every day. I do although, believe it is a great idea to give payroll employees a prgram to help them quit smoking. Last I heard, smokers are paying 25 dollars more on health insurance than people who do not smoke, plus all the money they spend on cigarettes. Totally not worth it to me.

On the other hand, I believe they should be able to deny job opportunities to people who do indulge heavily in alcohol. I hate when someone misses their shift and I have to cover their slack because they decided to get drunk the night before and now get to sleep it away. You have responsibility. If you know that you are supposed to be at work early the next morning and you are still drinking the night away, you definitely need to grow up and not have a job. People have to cover for you when you miss your shift due to alchohol. Drink responsibly. Get drunk on nights you don't have to work the next day.

Nathan Howard said...

I believe most people have bad habits whether it's smoking, lack of exercise, drinking or eating too much. Too not extend employment to a smoker kinda limits a persons freedom of choice, although it would allow for a healthier workplace there are laws inplace which prevents smoking inside which is where the work takes place. what you choose to do outside of work (as long as it's legal) is nobody's buisness but your own.

sweetmenthol said...

I personally support these idea of employers using smoking as a criteria for eployment, for the reasons being that a lot of people not some people abused the opportunity given by employer to have a bathroom brake by proving a pattio at work for smokers to use when ever.These people in question takes too many bathroom brakes in a day and this could affect the overall job execution and it is also not fair on the non smokers, beacuse they get paid same amount of wages at work, and this peeple work less hours than the non smokers.If anyone wants a real picture of what am saying, visit an hospital and go to the smoking area, you will be surprice. If you want to know how many times a particular person leaves their work and go outside to smoke,you will not believe what you see.In just two hours period these person would have taken 4-5smoking break.Employers making these a criteria to employ people may not eradicate these habit but at least reduced it.
Furthermore, I do not think alcohol drinking could ever be an issue for employment because most places would let you take a drug and alcohol test before they give you a job and moreso people do not drink at work like they smoke at work.
Implemtation of this rules is not view as ones private lives being delve into.In my own opinion, it is a very simple issue, if you are not satisfy with rules of a particular workpace, then go elsewhere that smoking is permitted.

kndglv@yahoo.com said...

This is nonsense. Employers should not be able to discriminate against smokers, but the bottom line is they can hire whomever they want. It would be alright to charge them higher premiums for their insurance. It would also be alright to ban smoking on the premises. I think a total ban would promote dishonesty. As far as a ban on drinking alcohol, I think it is more of a significant issue in particular occupations. Medical professionals, air traffic personnel, and child care workers should be held to higher standards. If alcohol affects job performance it becomes an important issue, but most employees should be given the benefit of the doubt. After all we are assuming we are talking about responsible adults who are protected by the Constitution.

Athena Smith said...

The students "Fefe" emailed me the following comment:
"For me it is hard to say my opinion because I am with it from one side and I am against it from another. I am with it because if they did these laws people will have to quit smoking and that is a good thing because we will have a healthier society. However, those people who can not quit for some reason they have the right to have jobs because they are regular people just like me and you. I know that it bothers me when people smoke in front of my face which makes me in the same level of dangerous as they are but still I think that should not be a law."

Gator_Gal5 said...

I think that idea is ridiculous! I work with people who smoke and yes is bugs me and I can't stand the smell they have on them after they smoke, but I'm not going to get mad at their personal decision to smoke. These people work just as hard and sometimes harder then I do. So I think it would be wrong if someone said that that person couldn't work for them because they smoke. Although I think that someone should be able to smoke if they want, I believe that if a person drinks to heavily to where they'll miss work, the company should have a say so in whether they hire that person or not. If someone misses their shift because they were out partying the night before and drank to much, then yes I believe an employer can have a say so. I'm not going to pick up on that person's slack because of their choice to drink to much. So I believe employers shouldn't have a say in whether or not a person is hired because they smoke but they should have a say if a person drinks!

Melissa said...

I think it is a great idea! Smokers in the workplace do affect more then themselves! Secondhand smoke is dangerous and having it in the workplace is unfare to those who don't smoke. You brought up alchohol, yes it is annoying when someone misses their shift because of a hangover or comes into work and can't function to their best ability do to their hangover, but that does not affect me and my coworkers health,which is where the issue is. The employers aren't trying to pick on smokers because it is fun, they are banning smokers because of health issues, not only for the smokers themselves but the other workers!!! I know my work day would be much nicer if I didn't have to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke everyday!

RAwildcats06 said...

I do not think that an employer has the right to keep a person from working because they smoke or drink. I do however think it is a good idea to try and off a program to help them quit smoking or drinking if it is a problem. I think that everyone in the world does something that can endanger their lives, from smoking to being a dare devil on the weekend. If you are going to stop hiring employees for one potential health risk it is only fair to not hire them all. If this happens no one will ever be able to work. I do not think smoking is a good idea and I disapprove it being around me but we cannot control a person’s personal life.

Snake said...

Honestly Im not sure on this one. I feel there are some good and bad points on both sides. It would be good for people who don't smoke to have a requirement of non-smokers for employment because then they wouldn't have to be in the presence of smoke. Same thing for alcohol. Certain jobs should have it where if you drink alcohol that you can't work here. Any jobs like driving a taxi or big rig should not hire alcoholics. I understand why they have this too. So they won't have as many people using there health insurance so the businness can save money. But at the same time though, it wouldn't be right to some of the people out there that can't quit their habits. If no one would hire someone who drinks or smokes, where would they go to get money to live? And why would they just stop there. After this they could go farther and say that you would need to be this many pounds before you could work here. Someone needs to draw the line somewhere.

Vicki said...

I absolutely disagree with this proposed idea. First of all, let me say that I am not a smoker. I hate smoking and can’t stand to be around it. If we start to discriminate based on smoking, though, how is that fair? It was already mentioned in the article that if you discriminate against smokers, shouldn’t alcoholics and overeaters be included too? Isn’t there potential for lost work time for people who drive too fast and may end up in a car accident? Or how about someone falling off a ladder trying to make a home repair? The possibilities are endless. I would fully support banning smoking on the job, in country vehicles, etc. But for someone to dictate what you do when you’re away from work is ludicrous.

Chocolate Thunder said...

I feel this is a great idea. Smokers who have to leave for a smoke break every 15 mins bother the heck out of me. I believe this will save money for everyone too. Cigs cost so much and it also costs your health. The idea of allowing people on payroll to have a program is genious as well. I also agree that alcohol should be banned from the work force as well. i don't drink and never have but i have been around those who do and it doesn't make you any more pleasent. it creates stupidity. no one should have to "drink their worries away". i'm a strong supporter of this.

Crystal said...

I definately think that employers have every right to utilize these par5ticular criterias. Smoking is a horrible habit and probably every smoker will tell u they wish they wouldnt have started or wish they could quit. Maybe this will encourage people to quit. I also think it more fair to non smokers. because when we only get 2 15 minute breaks a day, along with our lunch, smokers get MANY breaks to go out and smoke. a cigarette break can take 2-10 minutes. and for people who have made it their lives and can't make it through the hour without one, they are getting paid for smoking and not working. I also think they should use alcohol as well. Not in a way which would prohbit people from EVER drinking, but people who OVER drink, breathalizers should be owned by every employer. if you come to work with any sign of alcohol you're terminated. the same thing with cigarettes if you smoke on your own time AWAY from work, thats fine, but no cigarettesn at work, on premises, no breaks, etc. I think it is unfair to the people you serve, employers, coworkers, etc.

bellabelle66 said...

I honestly do not know how to think about letting employers utilize whether you smoke or not as criteria for employment. Yes, I understand smoking is unhealthy and I personally do not smoke, but I think it will create a lot of problems if this is used seriously. I think it would be ideal if we could use this and it will help keeping the environment and people smoke free. I just don't know if it will be very effective.

As far as the alcohol goes, I think that is going to an extreme. While I do not advocate alcoholism, I don't see why being able to have a couple drinks on the weekend should be something bad. I think you should keep your work life and social life seperate and I think employers should also respect that.

I don't really think they should be allowed to delve into our lives this far. I had already heard that one state was making their "morbidly obese" employees lose weight or they would have to pay a 'fee' monthly or yearly, I'm not sure, if they were not actively losing weight to become more healthy. While I do completely understand this is for peoples well being, it is also hard for me to justify allowing someone to be able to control you life that way because you have no choice. You either work and provide for yourself or family or you lose your job.

jayci57 said...

This is a tough situation.. personally, I hate smoke. I hate the smell of it, and the whole idea of smoking and one part of me says that this idea to ban it is a good one. But then I think, what if I was a smoker, would I be happy about this new plan? No. I feel like it's kind of discriminating against people who smoke, and that is not right. Only in a perfect world, would nobody ever smoke. As far as the alcohol goes, I don't think drinking is really anybody's business. As long as alcohol isn't being consumed while on the clock, or effecting work, it shouldn't even be discussed.

JK said...

In my opinion i feel that it is wrong to not hire someone because they smoke. If they wanted to do something about it they should just have something where you cannot smoke while you are on the job. If they want to smoke they would have to be a certain amount of feet away from the building. People that smoke will do the same work as everyone else, also get payed the same so i feel they should be treated the same as everyone else. Also, you couldn't really stop the person doing the hiring because they could say many other reasons why they didnt hire you and dont have to mention anything about them not hiring you because you smoke.
Alcohol on the other hand should be never consumed on the job, or before work. It can alter your job duty and also isnt safe when you are working. You could hurt someone or yourself if alcohol is consumed.

Jason Raimondo said...

It seems to me that similar questions come up in a "free society" all the time. It is a strange balancing act of trying to allow you to be as free as you please, so long as the exercising of your rights does not interfere with the rights of others. That sounds confusing, but this idea of relative freedom keeps courtrooms packed across the country.
While employers can not discriminate, they do have a right to hire people that they find best suited for the job at hand. If you enjoy dressing like a witch, and you have tatoos depicting the devil sodomizing nuns on your forearms, then it is likely that you will not be hired to work in a Christian bookstore where the uniform includes short sleeved shirts.
Some employers allow all employees two, fifteen minute breaks in the day. At this time, your smokers can get their fix, your obease employees can hit up a snack machine, and your older employees can get off their feet for a while and relax. This is just an example of an employer attempting to satisfy the needs of all employees in a fair way.
Employers do retain the right to drug test for illegal substances in order to keep "the criminal element" out of the workplace. They also hire people to come in and streamline procedures in order to save money. This is all because the bottom line for a business owner is profit.
While excluding smokers, and or drinkers from the workplace may increase savings on healthcare costs, it also makes finding employment more difficult for American citizens who are operating within the letter of the law. Because it is legal to smoke tobacco, and drink alcohol, I feel that businesses will find little legal standing for this weeding out of smokers from the workforce.
The practice of deeming people "not employable" because of legal personal life choices made on private time, sounds way too much like discrimination. What is next? Will homosexuals be barred from employment because of their assumed greater sexual promiscuity, and increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases?
On the other hand I feel that employer funded "smoke cessation" programs are a great idea. These programs will benefit both the employer, and the employee. They increase the health and productivity of the american workforce, and remove strain from a failing healthcare system.
Overall I guess that this seems to be a well intended, but unjust policy. I hope that the more positive aspects of these programs will be retained, while the discriminatory aspects are dropped.
Smoking is harmful, unpleasant, and costly, but so long as the government allows it to continue legally, there will be little legal standing to fire employees for "personal vices."

lolita said...

I feel torn with this one because i do think that certain employers should have the right to use smoking as employment criteria but I think the question is who is to say what is going too far? because you also have your right to privacy. However, when your personal life starts conflicting with your professional life then there is a problem.
There is a saying that goes "leave your baggage at the door" i like this little motto and i feel that it applies well in many aspects of life. in other words leave your personal life at home , when you come to work its to do a job and that job comes with responsabilitites. I dont think that it is fair that a smoker gets to take every time he/she needs a ciggarette and the non smoker has to stay and do his/her work like their suppose to. and in the companies interest the non smoker is doing much more work than the smoker theirfore the non smoker is more likley to get promoted and the company will be more likely to hire non smokers because their out put is far greater than a smoker's. I think it is similar situation with alcoholics and like ashley said its not fair for them to just call in sick and have someone else cover for them while they get to sleep off their hangover. alcoholism can also cause violence in the work place and other unecessary problems that can be easily avoided.
now I dont think that people should be descrminated upon by these things upon employment however I would support a quitting program for the payroll employees and other programs for alcoholosim and obesity. its nothing personal its just that a company tends to function better when its employees are not hungover or smoking a ciggarette or constantly eating.

almostmarried said...

I do not think that employers should have the right to tell their employees what they can do and what they can't do. I myself do not believe in smoking, I think it is a gross and discusting habit, but I do not think that someone should be fired from their job because they are a smoker. I do think that the program to help people stop smoking would be a good idea, that would be a great way to help the nation become alot more healthy. I can also understand why the employers would want to fire a smoker, whenever an employee, takes a smoke break ,they are wasting the empolyers time and money.

almostmarried said...

I do not think that employers should have the right to tell their employees what they can do and what they can't do. I myself do not believe in smoking, I think it is a gross and discusting habit, but I do not think that someone should be fired from their job because they are a smoker. I do think that the program to help people stop smoking would be a good idea, that would be a great way to help the nation become alot more healthy. I can also understand why the employers would want to fire a smoker, whenever an employee, takes a smoke break ,they are wasting the empolyers time and money.

torasu said...

Hahaha,banning smoking? That's ridiculous!!,everyone knows how cool smoking detectives look. But on a more serious note, I really feel like the government is trying to take away basic rights, I mean, who gave them the right to define their workers to such an extent. I know people who smoke, and they just as normal as the rest of us when they wear cologne/perfume, so, I really don't see the big deal. I say, let them kill themselves(as long as they don't smoke near me often), it's not my life. The alcohol thing though....I don't know, I mean I drink sometimes, and it would really suck if that was a hiring criteria. It really saves money,...but I love fine wine..sooooo, I really don't know. It's safer, but...at what expense? I think they shouldn't impose on workers rights just to save money.

torasu said...

Hahaha,banning smoking? That's ridiculous!!,everyone knows how cool smoking detectives look. But on a more serious note, I really feel like the government is trying to take away basic rights, I mean, who gave them the right to define their workers to such an extent. I know people who smoke, and they just as normal as the rest of us when they wear cologne/perfume, so, I really don't see the big deal. I say, let them kill themselves(as long as they don't smoke near me often), it's not my life. The alcohol thing though....I don't know, I mean I drink sometimes, and it would really suck if that was a hiring criteria. It really saves money,...but I love fine wine..sooooo, I really don't know. It's safer, but...at what expense? I think they shouldn't impose on workers rights just to save money.

Jinkzt3r said...

Honestly, I think the companies aren't only looking to cut the cost of their health care bills, but that they are also trying to increase productivity..

Think about it..

Let's say you work for a company that has 100 workers (to keep it simple)..a quick Google search said that in 2004 approximately 20.9% of the adult work force were daily smokers.. So roughly 21 of these 100 employees would be smokers. How long does it take to smoke a cigarette on average? I'd say about 7 minutes, I'll add on 3 minutes time to travel to the designated smoking area and make it back.

Note: I'm talking about people who get up, go smoke, and come back. Not the talkers and what not.. so..to continue..

In an average 8 hour work day, if all 21 workers were to go have a smoke once every 2 hours, at 10 minutes a smoke, that's about 40 minutes of smoke time per individual, so about 14 hours worth of smoke time between these 21 people. That's 14 hours of work not being done that day.. no?

So in my opinion, I think it comes down to companies wanting to have a reason to hire the more productive non-smoker rather than the smoker who is wasting 40 minutes a day smoking, and not working.

As a non-smoker, I'd enjoy this, but only because I know that those extra 40 minutes I work, smokers would have to work as well. At the job I have now, the only way to get a decent 5-10 minute break is to pop outside and puff one down, so it's a little ridiculous.

Then again, it would be too complicated to implement since so many people do smoke.

Tobacco is too far integrated into our society is it not? What's the last day you can think of that you haven't seen ANY one smoking a cigarette? Whether it be down the street, in their car, or at work. I bet you can't recall a day like that.

Ian Quinn said...

When a company disallows smoking during work hours, or designates specific smoking areas/times, I have no problem with that. These restrictions are fair, and logical: they keep the health and well-being of non-smokers in mind, while accommodating the Rights of smokers. (I say rights, because smoking is legal, so you have a right to do it.)
Even the idea of banning people who smoke cigarettes from being hired is complete joke. If a company wants to be THAT shrewd- and take a detailed look at someone's health records, then Not hire a person based on their poor health in relation to nicotine-use...then that's their dark secret. This is extremely un-ethical to me, but I don't think there's anything unlawful about not hiring someone if they are extremely unhealthy to the point of being a true liability. HOWEVER, putting into words and onto paper to be made into a law: a hiring policy that bans smokers, this is where I disagree wholeheartedly. SMOKING IS NOT AN ARBITRARY ACT, IT IS AN ADDICTIVE HABIT. That's really all I can say about it. How can you just say "Hey, Stop now or you can't get a job." Even testing someone's blood for THC before employing them is harsh in my eyes, but my rationale for that is another subject entirely, and since marijuana is an illegal substance, I have no legal argument, just an opinion of morality. Cigarettes, on the other hand, are mass-produced, marketed, and sold to people by huge corporations on a daily basis. So a law that bans the employment of cigarette smokers is a complete contradiction.
It's a shame that this action (attempting to ban employment of smokers) against something harmful (smoking) has a money-driven motivation (saving on health insurance) and not a humanitarian one (helping people overcome addiction, and stop engaging in a health-deteriorating act) This tends to be a re-occuring theme. I'd like to add that the idea of a "smoke-free" or at least "minimal smoking" society is a good one. I think we're making slow progress towards that, but a ban on smokers is an easy route that would only lead to isolation, and migration of cigarette smokers down to the fields of employment that do allow smoking, and this is just the opposite way that attacking a problem should work. The culture of smokers need intervention, not rejection. If we look at the causes of not only smoking, but the addiction that binds individuals, maybe some sympathy will arise. Stressors (caused ironically by work, the place that some people now apparantly believe shouldn't pay for your health insurance because you smoke) and the addictive/corrosive materials that tobacco companies roll up in those stoags, keep millions coming back to buy more. By saying this, don't you think that society has to play a much more responsible role that doesn't just consist of looking down upon, and casting smokers aside, if the goal/expectation is to eliminate smoking in America as best as we can?

joeyohweoh said...

Employers rejecting applications to people who smoke cigarettes is pure B.S. plain and simple. First of all being a part of the police force is considered a highly stressful job and if individuals need to have a smoke break to calm there nerves why not let them? I don’t agree with employers utilizing smoking as criteria for employment. Secondly seems to me if employers don’t hire applicants for consumption of alcohol is ludicrous. Are they trying to make the American people robots that go to work, sleep, and, return back to work? I’m with the idea if you work hard you should play hard. Finally employers shouldn’t be in employee’s personal lives at all unless applying for a federal government job.

bucs06 said...

although this is a decent idea by implementing this type of policy a school could save money on health coverage which would in turn benefit the students. this program could also help people with their smoking habit especially it being funded by the school, but this definitely arises a lot of problems for one, do not think an employer has the right to look at something as simple as smoking cigarettes which is perfectly legal for it to depend on their lively hood. then it raises the question of if an employer is going to segregate against smokers what is stopping them from segregating against people who drink or who are obese. this is a real problem because when it comes to reality if this program were to be implemented those categories rule out more than half the country which could actually hinder our child's learning much more than cigarettes.

lilbit said...

While I completely understand that these places are trying to save money through insurance I don't think it is right for them to be able to discriminate against people who smoke. They have already set so many other srules against smokers like not being able to smoke in resturants which i agree with but I am a smoker and I don't think that I should have to worry about if I am going to get a job or not based on the fact that I smoke. Like the article said how would people feel if they drank alcohol and someone told them that they could not work somewhere because they drank; or for people who over eat it's all the same thing. I also don't want someone telling me well just quit smoking or whatever addiction it is that i have as long as i am able to do my job and do it well it is nobody's business if I want to smoke my life away or drink a few beers on the weekend. So no I don't think that employers should have that kind of right to choose not to hire someone because they smoke.

Cardboard_Composite said...

I do not smoke, and really don't like being around cigarette smoke. But to deny employment based on an individuals choice to smoke is wrong.

If an employee were smoking at a help desk, or in a company vehicle/building there should absolutely be repercussions. They have the right to smoke while I have the right to not be near thier smoke.

But as long as they smoke on they're own time, somewhere else, its fine. Which is what the majority of people do.

What an employee does off the clock is his own business.

If an employee takes breaks every fifteen minutes to go smoke. Then they are unreliable and should be fired. Not because they smoke but because they are unreliable.

MidnightSun said...

I personally don't mind the ban. As to whether or not it's right or wrong? I really think that's up to the employer. They own the company, they call the shots. If hiring a smoker, drinker, or any other habit driven person costs them more money, shouldn't they be given the choice not to have to spend that money? If they could differentiate between the heavy abusers and the casual users, I think that would make it more ethical. As long as they are not refusing employment for something you can't control like ethnicity, color, or gender, I just don't find a problem with it.

Lady HCC said...

I don’t think that employers should be allowed to utilize smoking as criteria for employment. This is ridiculous. This is supposed to be a free coutry and some of the things that I read about people trying to make laws on or start is just ridiculous. If they do start this “new rule” then I think it’s unfair that they hire the obese or people who consume alcohol. They are just as likely to have high risk health problems too. I understand that they are trying to save money, but they can’t control what their workers do outside of the job. I don’t agree with it. In my opinion employers have absolutely no right to discipline or involve themselves in their employees “off-work” lives. As long as the employee is doing their job well then I don’t see why it would be any of a company’s concern what they do elsewhere.

lkm1991 said...

I believe employers have the right to impose pre-employment criteria on their employees for things like illegal drugs of course. I can understand the need to extend this criteria to include a ban on cigarette smoking and even a ban on alcohol as potential health risk factors. The downside would be what if an employe wanted to extend the criteria to eating meat and cheese because of high risk cholesterol factors or obesity because of increased riskso f diabetes and heart disease. Why not just give pre-employment physicals to evey potential employeee and be done with it. One other option to consider if the reason is based on a desire to reduce health insurance costs would be to have a premium for the healthy and a supplemental premium required for those who do use alcohol or smoke cigarettes. The reality is that I believe the economics involved far outweigh the impingement on personal rights one might consider is being compromised in adopting pre-employment policies regarding cigarette smoking or alcohol. Naturally,because I do not drink or smoke, I sould not bepersonally affected by such an employment policy but I would certaining miss meat and cheese!

Athena Smith said...

From my experience let me tell you what kind of discrimination I have observed.
PPregnancy and motherhood. I had a student who was working in an abortion clinic and when she became pregnant she was promptly fired.
During my early teaching career, the secretary had a baby and she had hidden that as employers were afraid of her increased obligations at home.
Possible pregnancy: In one of my early interviews I was asked if I intended to have children.


Another ground of discrimination was appearance. Not necessarily good looks but nice clothes vs sloppy jeans. Woody Allen would have never been hired by a film director if he showed up the way he usually does.

Race. However it works both ways. Against whites as well. In the medical field for example, doctors will hire mostly white or mostly black personnel depending where the practice is located and who most of the patients are.

Smoking? I have not seen it so far but it may show up. Drinking? Sorry guys, but this is not discrimination. If you are a habitual drinker, your brain functions are not what they should be. You may cause major screw-ups.

Health issues? In most application forms your health status is not investigated. I have colleagues who had serious health issues but were hired in various positions afterwards. Would they have been hired if they had revealed those problems? I do not know.

HeatherF said...

As someone who recently gave up smoking, I think the 'idea' is not a bad one. Many people who smoke need a boost or a push to help them quit. It seems like it would help the employer and the employee. At the same time forcing someone to give up something that is legal just doesn't quite add up. I understand that the companies are trying to save money but it seems that they are going a little far. What would be next, caffeine? Until something as severe as smoking becoming illegal, do I think that any company as the right to take away someones freedom and right to slowly kill themselves. In comparison to alcohol you cannot drink it on the job because it impairs your ability to do even the most simplist tasks. I think the most that the companies should be able to do is keep smokers from smoking at work.

Athena Smith said...

But I forgot another type of discrimination. Ageism. Folks, we don't hire -easily that is- people in their fifties or more. Thousands of middle-aged employees whose companies closed down have been in dramatic situations as they watch younger people with less experience get the jobs.
Ageism is a serious form of discrimination, but hardly ever discussed. As if it doesn't matter.
It does however

greenjellybean said...

I don't think it is fair for them to all of a sudden want to band smoking cigarettes for all employees. I understand they are looking for an effective way to lower the numbers of cigarette smokers and making them choose between having a paycheck or cigarettes is going to cause most to quit the bad habit but at the same time that shouldn't be allowed. They need to realize nicotine and alcohol are the most addicting drugs in America and these bosses and employees will be experiencing huge side effects due to withdrawals. This could be a negative effect on workers moods, personalities, and enthusiasm towards their work. Everyone knows what obsessive smoking and drvinking can do to your body. Drinking should never be allowed at work and cigarette breaks should definately be limited. Overall it is a persons body and ultimately their choice if they want to harm it.

Jinkzt3r said...

@Mrs. Smith

Was that pregnancy planned or no? Or was it even considered in the process of the student being fired? That is a little ridiculous, especially if the pregnancy was planned and welcomed. I guess I can see how it would be promoting the wrong image for an abortion clinic, others may be persuaded by her keeping her baby to keep their own, thus negating funds to the clinic for abortions.

As for ageism, it really isn't discussed, but perhaps it should be brought to the attention of everyone.

I'm sure more than one of the people who have posted on this blog have muttered some comment regarding McCain and how he will most likely croak in office, no?

Lessner said...

I do not think employers should be allowed to discriminate against smokers in their hiring decisions. I do believe that once hired, smokers should not be allowed to take smoking breaks at work.Alcoholics aren't allowed to take drinking breaks every hour so it is only fair.I think employers should only base employment decisions according to work ethic and performance.If a person's smoking habit or drinking habit gets in the way of their performance or has caused employment problems in the past,then that should be the main consideration for nonhire or termination.It is impossible to tell if a person is gonna be a good employee just because they don't drink or smoke.A straight laced person may have absolutely no work ethic and may be extremely lazy.A book cannot be judged by its cover only by its content.A workplace can definitely enforce no smoking on its property but an employer should not be able to tell a smoker that he/she will not be given a chance to feed their family.

Athena Smith said...

Jinkzt3r
I do not know if it was planned or not. What I know is that she was let go. Not even transferred to an office position, away from patients.

Disneyfreak said...

I have really mixed feelings about this sort of thing. I don't think that employers should be able to go that deep into your personal lives. However I see the argument that is being presented towards being allowed to look that deep and I see the up side to it. It really would cut back on the number of days missed due to health problems and more insurance coverage could be proved to those who have a healthy life. Maybe the idea would be that this new law would come into effect with the next generation so that we are not discriminating the generation that is hooked on it. But we can make the next generation a little healthier because they would never get the chance to start smoking. This blog is tough to answer but I think that yes employers should be able to say no if you are smoking.

Artimid said...

There is zero reason to allow smokers in work places, and no I do not believe that smokers have rights. "You have the right to swing your fist until it hits the other persons nose," goes the same way that someone can smoke if they do not exhale deadly gas, which makes me quite sick, and they do not puff out clouds of toxic fumes from their sticks of tar, fire, and poisons.
Problems that smokers bring to the table, right off the bat: They take to many "smoke" breaks that only they qualify for (upwards of 3-4 times as many breaks as non-smokers), they call in sick more often with health problems, they cause issues with their stink which affects everyone who might be near them as they wander or sit at their desk, they make certain areas completely uninhabitable by people who wish for a future with a life of un-assisted breathing.
Not to mention that smokers who don't get their many breaks become snappy and withdrawn, and thus annoy everyone around them.
Moral drops when people who don't smoke see people who do take break after break, and this lowers productivity more than just the smokers. They leave clouds of toxic fumes that hurt and annoy people who do not smoke, and they leave them in places that people often go. Smokers do -not- have more rights than non-smokers. The smokers right ends when they light up and put everyone in the area at risk for cancer. This is the same reason I can't swing a loaded gun around and pull the trigger while it is pointed at people, except in one way the people die fast instead of long, and agonizing deaths.
To the smokers: Bullets are cheaper and faster, and if you want to kill yourself go ahead. When shooting yourself though, make sure the gun isn't pointed in my direction. With smoking, you point the gun in every direction, and with every other weapon that is illegal.
One note I found on a forum at everything.com "Out of interest I kept a log of an individual coworker's smoke breaks and the time taken for each visit. I found the results interesting and think they'd make a good case for curbing or banning smoking within work hours.

From my notes, each break took roughly 5 minutes and the guinea pig took seven such breaks in a day (basically one per hour). That's 42 minutes per day that he is out of the office. If we take the average number of working days per month as 22 this means that he has taken 15.4 hours off or almost two full working days. As everyone gets 20 days of annual leave I multipied this by eleven months to get the yearly average smoke break time and came up with 21 days. Simply by smoking this person has effectively doubled his annual leave entitlements, the catch being that 21 days of it are taken in five minutes slices).

If the smoker worked for the company for 18 years they would have lost about a year of work from him (plus any related health issues which may cause him to take further time off). Add to this the fact while he is gone there is one less staff member on deck (I work in a tech support call centre) and you have a habbit which is seriously detrimental to workplace efficiency. Much more so than a drink or two methinks... "
I never thought of taking this log, as I was to busy being sick from the peoples stink, and I do mean sick, literally.

Artimid said...

"I do not know if it was planned or not. What I know is that she was let go. Not even transferred to an office position, away from patients."

About that, it might have been for her safety as well. People who protest at abortion clinics have a habit of being slightly violent, and the overzealous ones might not see that she is going in and out every day. Doctors have been assaulted going in, and leaving at night, people going in have been assaulted. I suppose I would want to see if they hire her back when she doesn't have her child, or more details about her firing.
I don't accept calling it prejudice without having been in the office to hear everything that they told her, or to hear their reasons. Jumping the gun is one of the major problems I have seen, it is part of the whole victim complex so many people in the US have. "Ooooh, I am being oppressed... did everyone see that, I am being oppressed!" When the King informed the mud wallowing commoner that he was a King - Monty Python, Quest for the Holy Grail.

Not to say this stuff doesn't happen, after all, how many men can you name who work in medical offices? How many male teachers are there versus female teachers, we already saw how nobody in our class would hire a male baby sitter. Just saying that in -this- case, there might have been another reason, though I do think they could have found SOMETHING for her to do. If they did just fire her, the lady who owns that place really needs a lesson in fairness, pregnant people are kind of necessary for our species.

sduffy3 said...

I do not think companies should be able to discriminate like that. I guess I understand in a way why they would think like this as far as saving money, but if they start with cigarette smoking- where will it end? There are tons and tons of health risks that people engadge in, so what gives them the right to choose smoking above other things. Yes, it happens at work, but I do not believe that you should be able to discrininate against something in the workplace that is legal. Now if smoking was made illegal, I could understand.

To me, this is the same thing as being against women, different races, or even homosexuals- we all are to be given equal opportunity at work regardless of our personal lives. On the other hand, companies can really hire who they want based on anything- it is just not always said aloud. And as far as alcohol goes, that would just be insane. Alcohol is not to be used at work, so if it isn't, it should not make a difference. As long as someone is not calling out everyday and drinking on the job, I do not see a problem with it.

Now personally, as a non-smoker, what annoys me is the all too well known "smoke break". I think that if smokers are given that priviledge non-smokers should be able to take "snack" or "water" breaks. It is only fair. Smokers and non-smokers all work just as hard and like I said, should be treated the same and given the same benefits in the workplace.

Athena Smith said...

Artimid
Maybe it was for her safety. I do not know what went through the mind of the employer. I only know what she said.
She did not seek employment again there.

Heatherf
very glad you quit!


To all
An example of religious discrimination in France came toomind. The football superstar Nicolas Anelka, who played for Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City, kept secret his reversion to Islam for four years, and when it surfaced he had to leave for the Turkish league due to increasing harassment. I am injecting this example to show you that things seem to be far worse in Europe.

Ferran said...

I don't think that something like this can even happen, regardless of what benefits it would ensue. Too many people smoke cigarettes, (even with groups like "Truth" organizing against it by spreading knowledge of it's negative effects) and they would cause way too much of an uproar if such a criteria did develop in the employment process. It doesn't matter what our economy is like, this is America. That kind of discrimination is impossible especially because Florida is one of the twenty-two states that have enabled the Right-to-work law. This would prohibit said policies that could enforce discrimination against smoking.

While I think people do need more encouragement to quit using tabacco products in general, I know this is not a way to do it.

Athena Smith said...

One more example from a friend of mine who was diagnosed with liposarcoma in the head and had disfiguring surgery that paralyzed the facial nerve. A month later she was fired. The president of the company said "we can't have someone like her represent us." (The incident took place in Greece).

Anyway, I do believe that this attitude is bad for the company as many consumers do appreciate a business that treats employees in a humane way. Many of us do not mind at all dealing with employees who may be handicapped. The supermarket I go to, employs teens with Down syndrome. At times they help with bagging. They are a bit slow, but nobody minds. Actually one of the reasons I prefer this supermarket is the fact it employs these kids.

RAFY said...

I can't really blame companies who want to save money with today's economy;and I hate the smell of cigarette smoke so as far as Im concerned, they are doing the right thing. There is however, an issue with privacy.Smoking and drinking are personal choices made by individual people. I don't think it's fair for people to have to stop a personal activity to actually be able to get a job (but I have to admit, this is actually a great idea to motivate people to do lots of things)
As long as drugs like alcohol and tobacco remain legal,( and are kept in check during work hours, the situation should remain under control. You can't make a law against such a common personal preference. If they do this then the situation could get totally out of control and companies could costumize the rules to find "the perfect employee" and because we don't fit that description (and most of us need our jobs) we can't really create laws like tese.

Madeline said...

I absolutely support this, 100%. I use to be a smoker and I took smoke break through out my day. I can say from personal experience that I am sick less, and I am more productive throughout my day. I think a company has the right to look and say "how can we save money and make our company more productive". And so long as they are not breaking laws to get there, I think they have every right. Companies have all kinds of guidelines... there are clothing regulations. A lot of companies do have rules about hair/grooming and visible tatoos and peircings. All in all I would agree whole heartedly with this sort of policy... there is nothng worse than getting into a car after someone has been smoking in it, or trying to walk out to your car but having to walk through a cloud of smoke to get there. I go a lot of places with my son, and I hate that I have to go out into the street to avoid walking him through a crowd of people on their "smoke break" outside a store.

eney352 said...

Well i think its good if a person don't smoke, drink, or use drugs. I highly recommend that people do participate in those things. But this is not the way to enforce that. They are amendments created years ago that allow citizens to smoke and drink. So employers will violating citizens' rights. I think the best way to stop these activities are in the household. But its still not a guarantee that he parents' teaching will stop children from doing those things. But in my opinion it is the best way. Parents shouldn't smoke or drink around their children, and get them in the habit of exercising and eating healthy every day. Employers enforcing it like this is just not the way to handle it. US citizens cherish their freedom to do what they desire and if anyone interferes with that then they have problems. So i think we should just let the smokers smoke and let the drinkers drink. It will prevent non-smokers and drinkers from looking down on the smokers and drinkers. It will prevent riots from citizens because they're interfering with their rights. Hopefully citizens learn and see how dangerous smoking and drinking is, and then teach their children not to smoke and drink and to exercise often. People don't learn until something bad happens to them so that's just the way citizens got to learn. A friend of mine's auntie had to have surgery from lung cancer and nearly died from it because she was a smoker all her life. Things like that are going to have to happen for people to learn i guess. God gave us the free will to make decisions on our own and employers can't try to take that away.

mescobar3 said...

This matter is very tricky matter. In fact, I do like this idea of having screening for smoking usage because when I'm working, smokers take a so called smoking break every 30mins and it pisses me off because they break about 100 times a day. Therefore if we implement this program, that would easily eliminate this problem.
However, realistically we cannot afford to fire or not hire smokers. As much as i hate all the smoking breaks smokers receive, they still are hard workers and in some cases the best workers of a company. Therefore to discriminate a person from a job because they smoke even though smoking is not illegal would just be wrong and ultimately hurt a company. I do understand with saving health care costs and all those things however, it is not a scientific fact that smoking leads to cancer and all this. In fact, the study between smoking and cancer patients is just a correlation, and a correlation is simply a link or a connection between A and B. In order to prover that smoking does in fact cause cancer someone would need to be tested for 30yrs and smoke everyday...??? this is not possible because no person will volunteer to be a lab rat for 30yrs. So, essentially researchers have just put all the people with cancer now and seen that they have smoked in the past therefore they conclude that smoking is a cause of cancer.
Now don't get me wrong i think smoking will cause cancer, simply what I'm saying is that it is not proven therefore companies not hiring people because they smoke has not factual information to back their conclusions up.

As for alcohol is concerned, we should test for alcohol and discriminate people who drink under the age of 21. (I'm speaking for 16yr -20 yr old that should be tested and if failed should not be hired. This is illegal under these circumstances. However for 21 year old + same thing applies not illegal and just about everyone who is over 21+ has drank therefore no one would own a job these days. So it wont work for our country to implement this idea.

Overall, these both are great ideas, however realistically impossible and ultimately if implemented could hurt and not save companies money. Which is not a good thing in these times.

P.s The next Blog should be on Presidental Election and our new president, which by the way i feel real sorry for because Obama is coming into presidency in a time where America is struggling. And for a president to make changes history for the most part shows us that presidents take two terms to make dramatic changes. Therefore if Americans are still struggling by the next election we may see anonther new president. Therefore best of luck to our new president.

DiamondSteel47 said...

I think that if a company of any kind is willing to make an investment in you, then as a employee you must accpet these changes, espically in a time where most companies main concern is saving money. I certainly think that when it comes to effecting an employee performance such as being extreme hung over compared to smoking where acohol would play a bigger role.

Belle said...

This is an interesting one… I am not a smoker myself. I think this is a better way to help a budget rather than just going around laying random employees off. It does make since with the insurance. Everyone knows smoking is horrible for ones health. At the same time… it does seem to me that the employer is getting a little to involved with a persons personal choices.

I work in a small office that is in a plaza filled with other offices. Everyday I see three ladies stand outside of their office numerous different times a day smoking a cigarette. When I come and go at all different hours of the day, at least one of them is outside taking a smoke brake. If I was their boss, I would start thinking I am paying them for a lot of time spent outside. If nonsmokers were employed there, they would more than likely spend more time actually working.

Belle said...

On the alcohol… If a person is an alcoholic, I can see an employer letting someone go over that. That is if it is noticeable at work or effects their work ethic. I do not think an employer should go snoop in a “good” employees personal life for no reason then finding out a flaw and firing then.

Shay said...

I myself do not liking smoking, the smell stinks and the people at my job gets on my nerve when they go on break and i cant go because I do not smoke.

However, i will not allow my personal feelings get into the way of how i feel about this proposed idea. I do not believe that an employer should be allowed to utilize it as a criteria for employment because it would not be okay for alcohol as a criteria for employment, using the same argument. I feel as if it is discriminating against the smokers. There are already many things that does not have anything to do with the abilities assigned to each job, such as the color of ones hair, the length of ones nails etc.

Although I believe that this will help a little bit with the health insurance. I think it is more beneficial for the individual smoker. This will get this help with their addiction. That's the good part about this whole situation. The problem I have with it, is what does smoking have to do with the ability one has to to his/her job. I agree that drinking and being obese has a better chance of causing help issues than the long process of getting lung cancer.

I believe this is getting a little too personal. You cant make someone choose to not smoke, although it may be benefical to them it is their choice!

We are always trying to find ways to cut something and make it cheaper!

Dgirl89 said...

I think this is absolutely ridiculous, that they are trying to stop smoking to be able to get a job. You cannot tell someone if they can and cannot smoke a cigarette and not hire them because they do. I am a smoker and I work with tons of smokers and we are all devoted to our jobs and work hard. Its all to save money, and I dont believe that the health insurance of smokers are higher then non smokers. I can understand why the sheriff offices ban smoking to be able to work there, because most of their employees are police officers and they need to be able to run and do many physical things more than a person at a regular job.

Nelly12345 said...

I

Nelly12345 said...

How outrageous! No, No, NO! employers should by no means be able to use wether or not a potential employee smokes as a reason not to hire that person. Why does it matter? How in any way, shape, or form does smoking affect the ability of someone doing a job? Are employers scared that smokers may die younger than non-smokers, so they are thinking of keeping them out? Im sorry but that is complete ludacris, I am against this topic more than any other I have blogged to so far. And as far as alcohol? the only reason an employee should be terminated to do with alcohol is if that employee is drunk on the job, making mistakes, etc. How far should employers be allowed to delve into our personal lives? Not far at all. Far enough to know how old we are, what type of work experience we have had, and how qualified we are to do the job. PERIOD. Work is just that:work. It should not be confused with anything where moral questions come into play. In a way its like refusing to hire someone because they are gay, because they dye their hair, because the car they drive is yellow, so on and so forth. So what if someone smokes? Its a personal choice that person made. Will they die of some horrible lung disease? Probably, but in the eyes of the employer, why does that matter? Whoever proposed this law should be slapped in the face. I mean it.

ARamadhan said...

At first, it may seem that not hiring employees based on their smoking (or non-smoking) habits would same unfair and deprivation of freedom of choice. However, the fact that those employees are costing companies in aspects of productivity and health insurance makes it fair for companies to consider that. Companies face a very hard period, and they have the right to manage their expenses. Businesses are not obligated to hire anybody, and especially not individuals that might carry a potential of costing the company more than they already should. Productivity is another thing, when faced by the decision of choosing between two options, one that will work more efficient than the other; we automatically pick the more efficient. Smokers are less productive since they need to take smoke breaks, and they are absent more often because of the higher risk of sickness. Companies should be allowed to utilize and create a set of criteria by which they need their potential employees to adhere. If a company foresees that all their employees need to skinny or non drinkers of alcohol, then be it. Is that not the case in a football team? If your employer thinks you need to be in a certain shape to join their team, then an employee must stick to the guidelines. Companies have the absolute right of choosing the criteria on which their employing mechanism is based, to fit their own financial needs and work environement agenda.

chantillylace26 said...

I think in this time of economic stress, the worst thing you could do is to deny someone a job for a reason such as smoking. I am a non smoker, and yes, people who smoke cause a lot of problems. However, I think the issue could be solved by offering help to quit. This goes along with overweight people, and those who drink. Jobs are right, people have to cut back on their bad habits to help not only themselves but those around them.

sally soltau said...

I definietly disagree with the law they want to pass! Hello!! People need jobs!! Although I am not a smoker, my dad does. I try everyday to convince him to stop, he tells me its hard. I know he just being a baby about it. But if everyone could decide they were never going to smoke again, they would. Even so, when and if the law is passed and people are forced to quit smoking because, one they dont have money to buy cigarettes, and two because they cant support their family, ther are always going to be the younger ones who want to try it. And it becomes a spinning wheel happeneing over and over again.

Quiting is a great idea, i am aginst smokeing, but denying them work because of it IS discriminating. It is obviously up to the manager to decide who to hire, but who is not to say the manager doesn't smoke. If they were to employ a smoker, there should definitely be laws against smoking during work hours, so there isn't any wasted time. But during their lunch breaks, whether paid for or not, they can do whatever they want.

When it comes to alcohol, its a completely different senario. If your an alcoholic, then you are probably not the best person for the job. It does prove to have negative effect in the work place.

I do blieve they need help, and maybe if they are hired because they are smokers, or even alcholoics, the job should give them an opportunity to help fight it in a program or something.

CandaceRenee07 said...

I definitely have two different opinions about this. Since I already think cigarettes should be illegal, I look at this as a great opportunity to cut down on the amount of smokers in the US. Cigarettes do nothing but harm not only the smoker’s body, but those around him or her. When a company hires a smoker, it is automatically given that the smoker will receive more breaks than other employees so they can smoke. I have seen this in several jobs that I have had. On the other hand, it is the individuals choice if they want to smoke and if they have the qualifications, it should not prevent them from getting the job. I think every individual should keep their personal life at home. By this I mean, if you smoke, don’t smoke at work…. If you drink, do not drink at work or come under the influence…. Employers should not be able to control or judge my personal life period. However, if you bring your personal life to work, they have a right to control it.

Ballinasian said...

I don't believe that it is right for a company not to hire someone based on them smoking or not. Smoking is a personal choice and it really has nothing to do ith anyone's success in their work. There work ethic could be great but this company won't hire them only because he likes to take a smoke break for just a couple drags. In today's society everybody knows that smoking is bad for you, but it's something that is addictive and one person can't just up and stop something that is so addictive. But, maybe over a period of time one can stop but it is something that would take time.

goodriddens said...

I'm kinda split on my opinion of this arguement, I don't believe in smoking and never will cause my mom died of cancer caused by it when I was five, but then again it is a personal choice to smoke,drink, or be over-weight; it is also not illegal to do any of these. So when it comes to employers not hiring people who do smoke, drink, or are over-weight I think it is a good idea because it will help the persons health and save money by not buying the items to keep the habit and the company with health insurance cost, but I don't think the companys should pick an under-qualified person over a well qualified person because of it. If they have the same resume then go ahead pick the healthier of the two. And for the companys offering incentives or programs to those that do these habits, I'm all for it because again it is helping both the individual and the company, but they do not have the right to fire an employee for doing/being any of these because it is not illegal like drugs. But if the person they test, if they do, is under the age of the law for drinking/smoking then yes they should be allowed to not hire or threaten to fire them for thier activities because it is illegal. But overall I think it is wrong to fire or not hire someone because they smoke, drink, or are obese unless under certian siituations, untill doing these become illegal like drugs.

pachrique said...

I do not agree with this what so ever. Smoking and drinking are both legal and are both done on the employee's own time. You can smoke and still be very heathly and fit. It may cause the price of your health insurance to rise, so maybe not extend company health insurance to people who smoke and offer a quit smoking program to help them, and once they quit offer them insurance. I know I would much rather that than not get hired because I smoke. Smoking really doesnt affect anyone but the person who smokes. Smokers usually group together when they go on break to smoke, if you dont want to smell the smoke then dont go near them.

As for alcohol, that also shouldnt affect ones preformance at work. Staying up late and watching TV is just as harmful to ones work as being up drinking. You can argue that being drunk will often cause a hangover, but one poweraid or gatoraid will knock that out most of the time.

I do not feel that employers should do their hiring based on peoples habits out side of work as long as they are legal. I know I really enjoy going to a pub after being at work/school all day and having a few and smoking some cigs. There is nothing wrong with that and it does not affect my work.

Jecka said...

I don't think an employer should make a decision to hire a person based on there preference to smoke. I am not a smoker and although I hate smoke I think they are digging to deep in personal lives. On the other hand it would help the health of the smoker and the health of the other workers as well just as mentioned earlier. Which would in turn lower premiums on health insurance and absentees at the place of work. But I don't think it is our decision to make people change they should want to make that change on their own.

As far as Alcohol I feel the same as smoking. I do not drink but I don't think we have the right to tell someone not to in order to keep employment.

Miranda said...

Personally, I totally agree with what the government is trying to do when it comes to the intake of cigarettes and alcohol. Ethically, I believe it is wrong. Some people who smoke can not simply quit. And if you were to try and make them quit.. it will drive them to drink. People are weak and almost always rely on something to give them that buzz such as nicotine or alcohol. If the government were to not hire people who smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol unemployment rates would be at an all time low... worse than it is now... THANKS PRESIDENT BUSH!

RSXGirlie1988 said...

I am against this whole article. I think that "ciggarette testing" and "alcohol testing" is taking it a bit too far. What I do outside the work area or off the clock is none of my job's business. Yes, the drug testing I agree with. Only because as far as I know drugs are still illegal. However, alcohol and ciggarettes or not. However, I disagree with marijuana being illegal, but that is another topic. At my job, the company just banned smoking on the perimeter of the store. The associates can smoke inside their car or they can go across the street. They are not allowed to stand in public view smoking. That I believe is also taking it a bit too far. Companies are going to "ciggarette test" now? All to lower the cost of health benefits? What's next?

Athena Smith said...

The student "Trau" sent me the following comment:
"I don't think it should be allowed. I don't drink or smoke but I still don't think it should be allowed. It's discriminate against people and what they do on their own time, or take smoke breaks. Employment shouldn't use people's bad habits in hiring decisions. While hirer premiums does make since for smokers and drinkers these acts shouldn't be used for consideration."

blogger59 said...

*

blogger59 said...

I support regulating personal bad habits at work, but as long as the regulations apply to the personnel of the entire corporation and not just a few. To make the work place a healthier environment for everyone is a great idea. Work is not supposed to be an extension of home, (where you let it all hang out) even if you spend more time at work than anywhere else.
I further support that legitimate health issues be addressed. Company’s that strongly encouraged and promote health have healthy teams that can reinforce a healthy work place.

When people are applying for a job, they have a choice to accept the job position or not. I have yet to see a job posting that includes cigarette breaks every hour while at work, and “hung over” over-tired and obese candidates who desire to be lazy and have the audacity to request to be paid for taking up space please apply here. Give me a break.
I commend the company’s that are including health club discount benefits to their employees, Some of the smaller community companies along with the larger groups; Moffit; offer great health club benefits that are “tax free” to their employees. Some of the local companies offer small gyms in their company.

On occasion I have to interview people and I would like to say out loud to some of the candidates; If you don’t like to shower before you come to work then please, work where body odors are appreciated especially when over saturated with strong smelling cologne that evidently is needed to cover up something less than desirable that is reeking from their person; clothes, hair, etc., but I was informed that would be discrimination, go figure.

So my post looks something like this; Non-smoking office seeking domesticated energetic physically fit reliable and dependable healthy body conscious types. All are encouraged to apply for this demanding and rewarding position with random drug, alcohol and tobacco testing on weekly basis. Great health benefits and free parking.

amooney2 said...

Currently the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office will not hire smokers and does require testing of tobacco usage. In this particular example, I believe that it is necessary and responsible. If a person is hired in a civil servant capacity and their pay and benefits are funded by taxpayers, then the government agency should take steps to effectively manage the funds. Also, professions such as law enforcement and fire fighters need to be in a fairly decent state of health in order to efficiently fulfill their duties. In this sense it can be seen as a performance issue. The same argument can be used for alcohol, and weight. These 2 particular careers, along with the military, require that you maintain a healthy weight. These organizations also provide the resources necessary to achieve and maintain the guidelines it places on its employees such as gyms, time allotted for exercise and cessation programs. The argument about alcohol is much more in depth and cannot be really evaluated on this board. A privately owned company should be allowed to utilize any criteria it deems responsible or necessary for employment.

Bobby Allen said...

I believe that allowing an employer to judge a person for a job by whether they smoke or no is an o.k. thing. I think that these people would just be looking out for a healthy work environment if they made this a rule to work at a job. They are only trying to keep their employees healthy so they can do the best possible job that they can for the company. When it comes to alcohol I do have a problem. If these people are going to judge their employees by something that is allowed then there is a problem. Most people in the world do drink. I can see it being a problem if they come drunk to work but to test people who have a drink sometimes is wrong an goes aginst the privacy act. To take someone's right away like that is complete control and almost as if they are working in a jail cell.

hunter07 said...

I don't think that employers should be allowed to deny you a job just because you smoke unless your job is physicallly demanding, we all know smoking affects your lungs, which makes you be able to do less physically demanding things over time. However, I do believe they should not have to pay for your medical bills or insurance if you have health problems related to smoking. Employers can choose how many breaks they give you, so if you can work and handle only being able to smoke once in 8 hours you should be able to get a job. Some agencies already require that you do not use tobacco. For example the Hillsborough County Sheriffs office but this is a good thing, You dont want a criminal getting away because the officer is a smoker and got out of breath quickly as they were running after the criminal. Drinking shouldn't be a factor either, you shouldn't be able to drink on the job but what you do on your personal time should be your decision and your decision only.

Candy18 said...

Of course there are pros and cons to every situation, and this topic is no different. For this topic though I think the cons out way the pros. Yes, they will be saving money, but I don’t think out casting one group of people is the answer. I personally don’t smoke, but I would never tell a person who does what to do with their body. If you think about it that’s to say a Smoker won’t out last a non-smoker. People have diseases, illnesses’, diabetes, back problems, obesity, anorexia, etc. People who have some of these problems visit the doctor far more then a smoker. In my opinion if you want to cut down health insurance you would have to hire people who are completely healthy. You may find a couple, but surely not enough to complete your staff. Of course, if people show up hung-over, drunk, or continually taking breaks to smoke then maybe should be terminated, but there is no way to know how people are until you give them a chance think that as long as people are performing their job to the standards required in their contract it shouldn't matter if they smoke, drink, eat a lot, etc. I think your personal life is just that, personal. As long as you keep it out of work there should be no problem.

Athena Smith said...

Blogger 59
Hard to believe. They don't shower? In this country?

Amooney2
The taxpayer is also financing the health coverage of many other groups. Seniors, poor, congressmen, senators, etc...

Artimid said...

dgirl89: "I dont believe that the health insurance of smokers are higher then non smokers."

You really don't see how people trying to get cancer, destroying their lungs, and are literally killing themselves cause higher insurance rates?
Also, this is, unless I am mistaken, simply saying they are not hiring people who smoke, simply that they cannot smoke at work, on the property.

nelly12345: "How in any way, shape, or form does smoking affect the ability of someone doing a job?"
Because they take insane amounts of breaks, have half the productivity or less or non-smoking workers, they raise the cost of insurance and on their prominent amount of sick days delay productivity and force overtime or lost work. That is how it affects the ability to do a job.

I, for one, would probably look at working somewhere just -because- they don't allow smoking. I would LOVE that, it would finally give me a place to work where morons aren't destroying the outside areas with their toxic clouds, and aren't trying to kill everyone around them. I also wouldn't have to deal with foul smelling, throaty coffing, walking bags of ewww.
I wouldn't mind working for less than my general contract pay, at least not with that major benefit.

Also, smoking isn't an individual choice, it has an effect on everyone around them. Smoking makes everyone you smoke around sick, or hurts them in some way.

Though, if someone -wants- to harm themselves and their family at home, it is wrong but I am not able to stop that. At work, or at any place I can be harmed, I want them to not do so, since most people aren't responsible enough to not hurt people on their own.

dragonfly said...

Here we go! Changing hiring policies to create a smoke free work force is WIN, WIN, WIN solution for everyone; a health win that reduces smoking and saves lives; a fiscal win that reduces health care costs; and a political win that is popular with the public. It sounds as if the president is all ready making plans to lower health care costs.
This seems perverse because it's happening at a time when public officials know precisely how to win this war — by banning the hiring of those who smoke cigarettes. What does this mean to all the employees who were hired before the banning. Will they remain employed, or will they be fired. Will they have to agree to go to counseling and then given a select time to kick the habit? My question is, “Who will pay for counseling”.
I am not in agreement that an employer would be allowed to utilize smoking as criteria for employment. I think big bucks are riding on this policy in hopes to lower health care and I am sure it is the political government. Many questions arises about this new ban policy. For example, cigarette ads in magazines, movies, even store fronts( all in which influence the people) will they be banned too. Then we have SUGAR, which can cause health problems, especially the rise in children hood obesity and health problems, will sugar be banned eventually too. Did anyone think to ask the current employees what they think? Most people who smoke will tell you that they smoke because they enjoy it or it helps them to relax.
In the end, it's pretty simple, the government has a duty to its citizens (they get you hooked and then accuses you of costing them too much money) to provide a healthy working environment and to effectively manage the cost of providing health-care benefits as a responsible means of managing your life. It is no surprise; the new elect president said he was going to lower health care cost. What’s our next surprise? (p.s. I do not smoke, never have, and never will, but this my choose).

iROCK. said...

I really don’t have any type of feelings toward this topic because it's not affecting me. To me I don’t think they should make smoking or drinking part of the criteria for employment. To me that’s digging more and more into people's personal lives. So if all employers decide to make that part of the criteria before employing a candidate for the job, then manufactures might as well stop making cigarettes to sell. Lots and lots of people smoke, and it is obviously a very hard habit to break. So by that being, if smokers can’t get employed because of their habit, there will be a tremendous amount of unemployment.
Employers can't "discriminate" against a person who smokes, because smoking is a choice; and I'm pretty sure they are aware of the consequences they might have to pay dealing with health and all that. They already have to spend probably about a quarter and a half of their salary every year buying cigarettes, so why look into all that now..

Starbuzz said...

I don't think they should be aloud to do this. They mine as well make cigarettes and alcohol illegal for everyone at age then. The offices are saying its going to lower cost on stuff like insurance but think about it there just going to have to buy test to test the officers for nicotine which is going to cost the departments a lot. I think employers need to stop at the point in your personal lives when they see your a drug free person they don't need to go all the way to see if you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. So basically i think employers shouldn't consider if you smoke or not when their hiring you.

TheSexyTeddyBear said...

well i personally believe that smoking is one of the nastiest and stupidest things a person can do. but with that being said i dont think it is right for them to do that... my girlfriend smokes, half of my friends smoke, most of my family either smoked or still smokes... and im sure that most everybody else knows alot of people that smoke... if they were to not allow people to get a job because they smoke my family and friends would be royally screwed... i dont agree with the fact that my girlfriend smokes but im not gonna tell her what she can and cannot do... its not my place, and its not an employers place either.

Caduceus01 said...

I have enjoyed seeing all the various responses to this blog. I must say I am glad that the majority of people think that it would be wrong to imposed these types of regulations. A few people think it would be fine to implement
these types of hiring practices. SCARY! Unless they are willing to use double standards,(nimby) in which case no problem, otherwise everyone one is fair game. If this is about money, why not rewrite some laws. Make it legal to deny employment base on cost effectiveness. Examples are; women are more likley to get pregnant than men causing higher insurance premiums,and lost time. The cost to insure a fifty year old verses a twenty five year is considerable and while saving a few thousand dollars a year for one employee may not make sense, if one were to extrapolate those savings to ten thousand employees a company could save millions of dollars. Therefore improving the bottom line. Personally I think this is about having a segement of society to look down upon and being able to come from a position of better than, without repercussions. The alcohol industry thus far has been able to protect its interest regarding their products and the harm they cause which is probably greater than the tobacco. However, I doubt that they will every have to endure the scrutiny that the tobacco industry has, given the vast number of people who use their products regardless of its harmful effects. So cigarette smokers quit smoking so you can keep your job and alcohol drinkers drink up! For today at least.

michelle said...

I think this idea is totally ridiculous! Unless cigarettes, alcohol, and overeating become illegal it should be illegal to discriminate employment based on these activities. To give a current or potential employee this kind of controlling power in your life can only lead down a road of further intrusion that I believe noone is truly prepared for.
Yes, an employer should be able to say what you can and cannot do during hours that you are on the clock for them, however, again, unless it's illegal what you do on your personal time is your business. Yes, everyone wants to save money in these challenging economic times but micro managing people's personal lives is not the way to do it. Despite what it may seem like from my post, I am not a smoker or drinker, save the occasional glass of wine. I also cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke on people's clothes or cars or restaurants for that matter. However, I draw the line at cutting off someones ability to care for themselves and possibly their families because of a habit they have when I know that I have habits of my own that may be unpleasant to others!

PunknDrublic said...

I am smoker. I started smoking when I was 13. I was a young rebellious kid who did things I wasn't supposed to just for the sake of doing things I wasn't supposed to. A lot of things have changed in the subsequent years. I've gotten older and I've learned some tough lessons about life on the way. There are many things that I have done in my life that I would expect most others would regret, but not me. The only thing I really regret is picking up this dirty habit. However, can we honestly tell some one "can't work here" just because they smoke.The only thing that should matter at a place of business is that the employee can do his or her job effectively. I also oppose pre-employment drug screenings for the same reason. One thing does not necessarily have to do with the other. I have worked smokers, drunks, and drug addicts and seen both sides, good capable workers and those who allow their vices to effect their performance at work. I have also worked with health nuts, religious freaks, and young Republican types and witnessed the same duality amongst them. In fact, the person I consider to be the worst worker I have ever been around never so much as took a drag off a cigarette or sipped a beer. He was lazy, weak, self important and most of all stupid, but hey, he didn't smoke or do drugs either.
The problem with a ban on smokers is it perpetuates a stereotype. I read artimid's rather abrasive post and it concerns me. Despite all the cigarettes that I have smoked over the years, I have maintained great attendance and performance records over the years and you would be hard pressed to find anyone to disagree. The point I'm trying to make is that discrimination is discrimination. If we start with smokers, then who's next? Then it's fat people, after that it's people with diabetes. Pretty soon, we'll see ads in the classified saying " Help Wanted: people with jaws that click when the chew need not apply.

Harper said...

This is so silly in my opinion, of course employers should not use smoking as criteria for who they should or should not hirer. This I feel is discrimination hiding behind an excuse to save money, Please it takes me more time to use the bathroom then it would take a heavy smoker to suck down a cig.(lets be real) As for alcohol you can't drink at work anyway, (for obvious reasons)as for what you drink at home is between you and God,not between you and your employer. All employers should hirer people based on how hard and well they will do the tasks at hand not based on bad habits they may have. Furthermore I don't think employers have the right to dive into your personal life unless it your personal life is clearly affecting how well you are preforming your job. Just to leave you all with one last note I am not an advocate for smoking nor do I smoke, I just want everyone to have a fair chance!!!!

Livelife220 said...

I personally don’t smoke and hate the smell of it but I think it’s pathetic if employers are allowed to make decisions on employment just because people smoke. People will always have bad habits and that’s just a personal business they have to work on. Each and everyone has the right to make their own decisions. However, if it affects the workplace, they’re performance and disturbs other employees etc. , then I do disagree to some extent especially if alcohol is consumed. As far as looking into our personal information, I think as long as the person is trust worthy, hard working and does the job done and correctly; then that should only be the only facts looked into.

DannyBoy said...

My opinion on this issue is that employers should not be able to deny and employee just on the fact that they smoke or not. I believe smokers should have the same rights as everyone else as long as it does not affect non smokers,such as smoking and non smoking areas and designated smoking areas.Alcohol on the other hand is a different issue.I belive that jobs that hold a higher responsability should be able to utilize alcohol as a factor of hireing empolyees.These jobs would include doctors to child care workers.I belive that employers should only delve into the issues that may harm others or cause problems for the company they are working for.

Florida Mom said...

do not believe that if a person smokes cigarettes, that makes them incapable of working. I do, however, think that if the person cannot work a shift without having a cigarette break –they need to find something else to do. As an employee who does not smoke, I am very irritated when I have to work a twelve hour shift with no breaks and yet some of my coworkers take up to one break every hour for a cigarette, while I am left behind to do their work as well. There is a time and a place for cigarettes, the workplace should not be one of those especially if you work in a hospital or in a daycare. I do not think that employment applications will ask you to specify whether or not a person smokes, but if they did check no and do not smoke at work-it is not the worst thing that could happen and maybe you can spare your lungs a little damage for a few hours. It definitely could be worse.

Enigma Breeze said...

I have to disagree with this policy. While I understand that companies want to save on insurance, as do I, it is wrong to discriminate against smokers or anyone else. Smoking is their personal choice, and it is unfair to deny them employment because of it. Sure banning smokers from employment may provide a smoke free work environment, but they still have to deal with smokers outside of work, and worse the company might lose out on a great employee. A smoker doesn't really affect the work environment, but an alcoholic would. Drunk people at work is never good for business. I think drug testing employees can be beneficial to companies, but testing for alcohol and cigarette testing is a bit ridiculous.

Athena Smith said...

I have a couple of colleagues who are smokers and take zero breaks during the day. They even have lunch in their offices while answering emails and working the phones. However, I have also seen others who are frequently out smoking. It really depends on the policy that the employer has adopted. Let’s say he allows a ten minute break before lunch. How does he enforce it? Can he supervise the duration and frequency?
I think not.
A friend in NYC who works for a large corporation told me of colleagues who actually go to the gym during those breaks since there is no supervision.

Flip Barbie said...

Well I don’t smoke and I don’t have anything against someone who does, expect that smokers tend to get more breaks on the job. I think “smoke” breaks are extremely unfair, especially to employees who don’t smoke. However, to deny a person a job because he or she smokes, is ridiculous. I believe as long as you are a hard worker and don’t let smoking interfere with your job there is no problem. If it saves money and you are a personal business owner and that is your views, then by all means enforce it, but for a large corporation to enforce this rule is a waste of time and energy.

iOperationJapan! said...

I think it is okay but only to an extent. I agree with smoking being banned with cops. And I think it should be banned but only with jobs that require alot of physical activity. As for drinking, I don't agree with banning it. Workers know not to bring alchohol on the job, and calling in for a hangover is something that the employer with have little tolerance for. So I find it unnessecary. Also on the subject of obesity, I think it should be taken into account when hiring for some thing like, a cop or a firefighter. These jobs require alot of physical activity and if your obese or a smoker, these will only hinder your performance.

irishqt7 said...

I work with people who smoke and I don’t really notice the smell anymore but it does bother other coworkers. Just because they smoke doesn’t mean they don’t work just as hard if not harder than the non smokers. So I think it would be wrong not to hire someone just because they smoke. Drinking on the other hand is a different story. If someone drinks too much and misses work a lot then they should be fired. So I believe that employers shouldn’t not hire someone just because they smoke but if they drink then they should have a say in it.

ALong said...

In my opinion, I don't think that employers should be able to deny a job to someone who smokes. However, I do believe that employers should be allowed to put restrictions on when the employee takes a break. I know people at my old job who used to take a break every hour. I think that is a little over the top.
As far as drinking, I have a lot of friends who work in the restaurant business, and they have to cover early shifts all the time because someone has a hangover and was a no call no show. I think that is irresponsible. Therefore, I believe that employers should be able to dictate whether to hire someone who smokes or not.

baseballer8132 said...

I believe this idea is ridiculous. I'm not a fan of smoking but as long as they are taking there smoke breaks away from me, I'm going to be fine with it. But I believe if you say they can't work at all; would cause unemployment to skyrocket.
I believe as responsible adults we are able to control our habits of drinking and smoking in an appropriate manner. If they can't then they should not be able to work within that company.
Some also have talked about the company have ways for helping people quit smoking. I agree with this but we must remember that our state and national government already provide non-profit associations to help people with these kind of issues of quitting a habit like smoking and drinking.

x3tink0x3 said...

I don't like this idea. It does have good intentions but it is not at all the right thing to do. Just because some one smokes employers can’t not hire them on that reason. What they should do is hire them and then create groups to get them to quit. The same with alcohol, and obese people. It is not right to discriminate like that. I feel that if the employer does want to cut costs they need to do this some other way. It is against the law to discriminate. These three things may not be recognized as discrimination but it is all wrong. Encourage people to quit, not become homeless, which is what they would become if they can’t get jobs because they smoke or drink.

pcenluv08 said...

At first I thought that not employing those who smoke was a great idea. But as I kept reading and the arguments of banning drinkers and obese arose, then I thought about the situation again. Of course I am very biased about the smoking situation because I am not a smoker, never have been and neither has anyone in my family, therefore I haven't really been exposed to cigarettes, and it does really bother me when people are smoking around me or even when I can smell the strong odor on my co-workers. Now at the same time, as much as I don't like it I don't think that it would be right to discriminate smokers because then comes the question, Where do we draw the line? If it starts with smokers to lower the company's health costs then next it very well may be people that consume alcohol as well as the overweight.

TpetGuru said...

I do not this it is right for an employer to tell you what you can or cannot do on your personal time. If you smoke when you are not at work that is your decision, however, I do believe employers should be able to tell you if you can or cannot smoke while working. In some positions, such as retail, it should be okay for your boss to tell you that you cannot smell like smoke while working. Notice i did not say they can tell you not to smoke. Alcohol should not be any part of any employers business unless the employee is showing up to work while intoxicated. Then the employee has made it their boss's business.
My boss likes to get very involved in my personal life. I hate it! I will ask for a day off and I automatically have to give him all the reasons why and if he says no, I have to try to talk him into giving me that day off. Its hard to work with someone who is trying to become your 'second father' or even involving themselves in your personal life. I dont think it is right for a boss to be able to tell you what to do with you personal life.

skeletor said...

My opinion on the subject is that i don’t think this should be allow to implement such restriction. At my job there is a lot of people who smoke but these are people who works very hard. This should not be a requirement when been selected for employment unless this affects there performance on the job. Still I think putting a ban on people who indulge in heavy drinking might be a great idea , because this sometimes cause them not been able to make it work on time are even function properly when they are at work. Since they are so hangover they should be responsible for there own action as much as the smokers.

clalexa said...

The idea sound so good in writing but I doubt it will be successful. I am a non-smoker but at the same time I don’t agree with any type of discrimination. Why cigarettes? What about other vices that are also a risk for our health and targeting these also helps reduce the cost of health insurance. I do believe there are other means of saving money and reduce cost; these also help with the promotion of health and wellness. The problem will lay on the consequences after they start implementing these new standards for screening and hiring process. Many complaints will follow.

alfi24 said...

I am very passionate about this subject. One may say that I have a very bias opinion because I myself am not a drinker or smoker, never have and never will be. I am one that believes that both substances should be illegal right there along with all of the other drugs. It has been proved again and again how bad both of these substances are for the consumer and people around them. Cigarettes there is absolutely no argument, there is nothing good coming of them and I think that the only reason they aren't illegal is because we as a country are making too much money off of them. I am very proud to be a Florida citizen and enjoy the Clean Air act. It got to the point where I could no longer eat at sports bars because the smoke was so thick that it would make me nauseous. Now alcohol is a touchy subject where many people will try to make the argument that everything is good in moderation and that the majority shouldn't be punished for the minorities mistakes or bad judgment. However I believe that while yes it can be fine in moderation I think that the bad outweighs the good no matter what way you look at it. I am 20 years old and have never once been intoxicated or even consumed alcohol. I went to a normal public high school with big "kegger" parties every weekend and had no trouble what so ever resisting "peer pressure". I have seen the negative effects of alcohol again and again and have lost too many people very close to me due to alcohol related deaths. I see absolutely no good in the practice of consuming alcohol and I personally think that one can have a good time without drinking and that it is used as an outlet for those who are hiding from the truth.

While I can understand and appreciate the companies reasoning for screening for these bad habits, I believe that as long as it does not interfere with ones work performance than they should not be discriminated against for it. I for one have a real problem with co-workers who are smokers and get differential treatment for being so, like 10 minute smoke breaks every hour on the hour, while the hardworking healthy co-worker that doesn't have a disgusting habit is only allowed one 15 minute lunch break in their 10 hour day. So I can absolutely agree with their reasoning but I feel that they are walking a fine line and there would have to be distinct guidelines and rules layed out for this type of screening to go into affect.

MiiStAkEn iiDeNtiiTY said...

In my own opinion, I feel as though they shouldn't be allowed to do such a thing. Yes smoking does have health risk factors, but they should not be allowed to say what a person can or cannot do; or better yet if a person smoke that shouldn't be able to determine if they are hired or not.
Only work related factors should they be allowed to indulge in, but anything outside of work and what people do on their own time should be left up to them

supergirl said...

Yes! I think that employers should be allowed to utilize smoking as criteria for employment. Smokers affect more than themselves. Along with lessening a company’s expenses because of insurance reasons and them not being there because of health reasons, I think it will also better the company’s atmosphere. Many people that smoke litter their cigarette butts on the ground and enter back into work smelling strongly of smoke.
While I support this idea, I think that utilizing alcohol as criteria is a stretch. Those that smoke do so during the day and throughout the day (for the most part.) Those that drink, however, do not usually do so during the day or while at work because it impairs you.
At first glance, I thought that this proposal was preposterous. I do not support the government, employers, or anyone else looking into my life when they are not welcome. This may seem like an intrusion to some, but when you look at the whole picture, its beneficial.

lacrossechic8 said...

I do believe that the no smoking policy at the work place is a good idea. Some people, like me, do not like smoking at all and don’t want to be around another co-worker who reeks like cigarettes. Also, their smoke breaks can be taken every hour or two and are taken advantage of; while other co-workers are inside working and making up for their lost time.
As far as alcohol goes, I do believe they should be hired or not depending on their alcohol consumption. Some people are heavy drinkers and will drink at work, and others will have no idea. They find ways to bring it in and hide it, or truck drivers can drink on the road. I think people should be tested on a timely basis to avoid these situations.

keekee said...

Just to add to some of the comments about how it will affect non-smokers by second hand smoke. First let me say that unless you are outside sitting in someone’s face while they are smoking, fat chance of you being affected. Not sure if you are all aware that there is no smoking inside buildings or restaurants. I am a smoker, and understand that it is not for everyone. Unfortunately, I grew up in a time when we didn’t realize how bad it was for you. I grew up in North Carolina where school did not start until all the tobacco was cropped. Most of the kids in school were from the farms and the parents needed them to work the fields. Remember that smoking is an addiction, and after 20 years of smoking, not a choice! It would be nice if instead of punishing those of us who smoke, they came up with ways to help. Not hiring people who smoke is discrimination! People who drink cost us more with calling out with a hangover, in the hospital from a car accident, in jail for killing someone with their car while driving drunk! Be real! The fact is that smoking will cause problems down the long road for those of us who smoke, but to say that we are a burden to healthcare cost or that we take more breaks at work, is about the same as me saying that because most of the people that I have working for me that do not smoke tend to be lazy, all people who do not smoke are lazy! I, myself (who rarely gets a break and has gotten in trouble for not taking lunches) work very hard and have never called out or missed work due to smoking or DRINKING or over-eating. This is classic discrimination

Stranger said...

From what I've seen, smokers are still able to perform at the same level as others in the work environment. However they usually take more sick days. In a way I think it would be good if employers took smoking into account when deciding whether to hire someone. This way individuals who smoke will realize that they have an affect on others as well as themselves. I don't smoke but choosing not to hire someone for doing so seems a little harsh to me. I think the best thing would be for employers to develop programs to help smokers stop smoking, this way everyone benefits. As for alcohol I think excessive drinkers should expect to be denied jobs. There is a difference between drinking and being responsible about, and drinking irresponsible while others are depending on you.

vertuxa said...

I think one sentence underlines the entire theme of this article: “Given the state of the economy, more and more companies and governmental employers are looking at ways to reduce costs…” Personally, I am non-smoker, and it surprises me to no extent that people are willing to spend a lot of money to give themselves cancer. However, we do live in a free society that provides people with more liberties that most places in the world, so we should not frown upon vices of others. I also believe that hiring practices of the companies are really their business, especially in tough economic times. The government has clear guidelines regarding sex, race, gender, religious belief, sexual orientation, creed, disability, and age discrimination, because these attributes are acquired either via nature or nurture. Smoking, drinking, and obesity are controllable and treatable habits. If Pasco County ’s hiring policies can encourage people to kick their unhealthy and damaging habits then more power to them.

allisonbeck said...

This is rediculous, really. Those are personal issues and personally I do not smoke, but many people do and should not lose a chance at a job position or their current employment status due to ''smoking a cigarette'' or ''drinking alcohol''. People need to work. People have different problems. It is legal. It is also their choice, and by law it has never been an issue, but now it is OBVIOUSLY all about money and saving money in businesses and corporations. It is not right and unfair, and it's hilarious in a way, because it IS true, why stop there?? They will probably start testing for other random things and banning or limiting employees due to some personal status or choice of LIFESTYLE that has nothing to do with their duties as a WORKER. I don't like this at all.

Frogger said...

I understand where employers are coming from but your personal time is your personal time. I don’t think it is my bosses business what I do when I am at home. I think there are restrictions they can make at work…no smoking on/in, company no drinking on/in company property but when I leave they should have no say over what I do legally. As for the “fat” issue I think employers should encourage people to get healthy give them discounts on gym memberships and insurance but if people want to kill them selves we or our employers can not stop them.

bobopep said...

I think that as long as a persons "bad habit" does not interfere with their job performance, they should not be penalized for it. Everyone has the right to do whatever they want while they are away from their job,so as long as they are not smoking at their desk and disturbing others, I dont see it being a problem. Also I think that everyone has faults so if people are not going to get hired for a job because they smoke, then overweight people, drinkers, slackers, etc. should get the same treatment. Nobody is perfect so they shouldnt be discriminated at work for it because then really none of us would have jobs.

truth08 said...

To me i really don't think that they should be able to do that. I believe that it would be a bit to much in people's personal lives already. I am not saying that smoking is a good thing. But people have been smoking for so long already and it really hasn't created such a huge problem in the working business. So why should it be changed now. I know people that smoke who work just as hard if not harder than people that don't smoke. So that's why i really don't agree with this whole idea.

wrtmillions said...

I tell my friends all the time they need to stop smoking and don’t smoke around me but I think that this situation is ridiculous. How can you tell someone that you will not hire them because they smoke or drink alcohol? Half of the population smoke and if they don’t smoke they consume alcohol on social bases. I understand that it will lower my health insurance and I’m all for extra money but they will just raise taxes and there goes that extra money in my paycheck and another person without a job because they smoke. Not to mention, if smokers can’t find jobs then they will be on welfare which comes out of my check anyway so does it really matter to me. I think that employers need to stay out of their employees personal pleasures. There is still life after work and you need to enjoy it the way you want it and not the way your employer preferred you to.

Nurse4U said...

I think what people do in their personal lives away from their job should not be used against them when applying for a job. If they drink at home and it doesn't affect their performance at work it shouldn't be a factor for employment. I think companies should not discriminate when hiring someone because they smoke. All employees should be treated equal. Break times should be the same regardless if you smoke or not. I don't think potential employers should have the right to dig into the personal lives of these people. As long as the person is qualified for the job, has good references and good attendance at previous jobs there personal lives or the fact that they smoke should not play a factor into getting the job.

Brian H said...

my personal opionon of this is that they shouldnt try to dig so hard in a person's personal life. mabye they should not be allowed to smoke in company cars or anything belonging to corprate, or even on job sites unless of the clock. but some poeple cannot quit, and they may be to jittery or unstable to do a good job at work becuse they are craving a ciggarette or even alch. i do not personally have addiction problems, and i dont smoke, but i have lots of family and friends who do, and if they dont smoke or drink, they become either moody or tense, and that is not good for ones work ethic. mabye if the companies would make a prgram to help the addicts, then this would be o.k.

London Skies said...

I personaly don't mind this rule because I am not a smoker and do not like to be around cigarette smoke, but I also do not feel it is fair. This is supposed to be a free country and that would be an ivasion of personal rights. I think it would be fair to restrict smoking at the work place but what people do on their time in their own home is solely their choice. To say you would not hire someone because they are a smoker is discrimination and I believe an invasion of personal rights.

CrazyFred21 said...

employers should have the right to say when certain things are appropriate. If an employer dose not want an employee smoking on the job they should have the right to say so. smoking on the job is unproductive and puts off a bad image for the company. if someone is walking into a store, who wants to walk past employees on their smoke break. I agree 100% that employers should have the right to say if an employee can smoke. smokeing costs alot of money for both the employer and the employee. A smoking employee should be seen as a risk to the company. Although drinking is not illigal it should not be comsumbed on the job in any way, shape or form. But as far as telling employees they can not do these things on there time away from work at home is not right. If someone is visably putting off a bad image to the company then the employer has every right to repremand them. But an employees free time off the clock is their own personal time.

Bluefieldstana said...

Employers should be able to choose not to hire a potential employee based solely on their smoking or drinking habits. First of all, a worker that smokes or drinks is statistically more likely to miss work due to illness. Also, someone who chooses to smoke has a much higher likelihood to develop cancer. For a small business this can mean the entire company could potentially lose their medical coverage. I do understand that it is hard to define the line on how a company can legally discriminate, but applying a simple cost/benefit analysis clearly demonstrates that it is in a companies best interest to hire employees that do not engage in habits that are harmful to their health. On the other hand, many companies are starting to realize this and are responding another way by providing incentives, such as assistance in quitting tobacco or providing workout equipment at the office, for employees to live healthy lifestyles.

mp88 said...

I completely disagree with this idea. Even though I can't stand the smell of cigarettes, I think to test people on if they smoke cigarettes in order to get a job is ridiculous. I mean smoking cigarettes is legal, and if people want to smoke then let them smoke. It is none of the company's or employers business. People that smoke are aware of the health risks, so why should it matter. I think that just because someone smokes they won't be able to get a job is ridiculous. It’s that persons life, if they want to smoke then let them smoke. They should be a loud to smoke cigarettes if they want to, and should not let it affect their lives.

J3NNii3 BABii3 said...

I think that an employer should be able to do that. I think an employer has every right to ban certain things for his or her business.. Yes smoking is accepted and so is drinking but when it comes down to it it has it harms. It takes a toll on your body and that more money on health insurance policies for that business.. and if banning smoking and drinking does that then so be it. If you need and really want the job then you'll abide by what they want. If not, i believe there is a place somewhere in the world guaranteed to give you a job. Someone left a comment that it messes with that persons freedom to make choices and do what they do. Well if I as a person wants to screen people for the fairness of others and even health and overall the wellbeing of my other employees then i have that right to do so. Hey and in the end you get a plus out of it. BETTER HEALTH AND THAT BAD HABIT THAT YOU WERE PROBABLY TRYING TO KICK IS GONE. As for how far i think an employer should be able to dwell into your life. Hm.. i think that an employer has the right to know anything that effects the work environment or any persons in it.

kobebro21 said...

I dont think companies should have the right to discriminate against employers that smoke. I think they should be able to increase their insurance premiums but fire someone because they smoke, or not hire someone for that. If companies decided to enforce this they would definately lose a lot of employers. I feel the same about alcohol.

krosselle said...

I for one believe that smoking should be considered when hiring a person. It is unprofessional to assist customers with the harsh scent of cigarette smoke on your skin and clothes and could deter the cutomers and thus harm the business. Also, they will require smoke breaks which further takes money from the employer because they are paying prescious money for people to sit around and give in to their addiction. I have experienced this where I work, I have a serious ankle injury and will stand on my feet for 10 hours at a time with no break at all whilst the smokers have racked up 3-5 breaks in this time, some taking up to 30mins! Smoking is going to be part of their schedule and when hiring it is, in my opinion, pretty important to consider and should not be overlooked. As for drinking, i do not believe that they should drink on the job( like smoking) and also should not show up to work half intoxicated(like the smell on their clothes from the tobacco) bc these conditions will otherwise deter business just as smoking does and should then be punishable by termination from the job. If they want to drink at home on their days off and do it wisely (not getting into trouble with the law) then it shouldnt be a problem. Smoking, on the other hand will always be on their skin and will follow them everywhere because they will not want to go more than a certain number of hours without smoking another cigarette(depending on how addicted they are, it varies).

wwiegert said...

I think that if employees are to choose to smoke, that should be done on their own time. Therefore, it is not necessary that they quit entirely, just that they are not to preform that legal action while 'on the clock'. Smoking in the company vehicle while driving from job-site to job-site is an odor that can outlast the life of the vehicle itself.
Alcohol is also a legal substance which is consumable by choice, although the side effects may leave a 'harder-hitting' impression on an employee that may last into the next day, although, that was a choice they made the night before. Showing up to the job 'hung-over' is irresponsible and the employer should have every right to terminate the individual on-the-spot. That individual had the full opportunity to call in sick instead of arriving to their job in an incompitent state.

Aboylan said...

I personally totally disagree with using smoking or alcohol consumption as a means to decide on who gets a job or keeps a job. Smoking and drinking are personal decisions and what you do in your free time should not play a roll in employment. However, I agree that people who are going to drink on the clock should not be tolerated. I also agree with designated smoking areas and smoking breaks. This is a logical idea. It allows the employees their freedoms however, allows the company to still be productive.

jb23 said...

I think that employers should have no right to base their hiring on people who smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. If people smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol it is theor own business. I would say that most of the people that do these don't do it while working and can maintain a professional attitude at work. However, the idea of even considering these things for employment is just very retarted to me. I hope this never even comes about in the future because if it does it might stir up some big chaos among people.

JulyssaV said...

Well to a certain extent I agree with this article. These days everybody is trying to conserve money and cut back costs and I think this is a great way to do it. Many people struggle with nicotine addiction and having programs with in the company to help stop is a great way to help people kick the habbit. At the same time it helps healthcare costs. So in the end everybody wins. But not hiring people based on smoking habit, is,I think, in some ways good and then unfair. It's not that it is "racist" or "discriminating", it's like people now a days not hiring people based on being over weight, thats discriminating on apperance. But then there are people who are very excellent at what they do but just haven't kicked the habit or lost weight. So I think it's unfair and fair.

incendiary said...

I think that employers should be able to use smoking as a criterion for whether or not they should be hired. I personally think that smoking is one of the most disgusting habits in the entire world, and not only does it kill you slowly, but it kills all those you care about around you as well. Maybe if employers basically required people to not smoke, then that would add more incentive for people to break their habits. As for alcohol, I don’t believe that is as disgusting a habit as smoking, because unless you do something reckless after drinking, it is not really going to effect others besides you. I don’t know how far they should be able to delve into our lives, however, what I do know is that they already delve pretty far in based on a prescanning of our facebook and myspace accounts.

crguy73 said...

I am not sure about this. I feel that if Pasco County were to pass this it would be a huge discrimination. Don't get me wrong it is a good idea. However, not hiring someone who could be well qualified because they smoke would be stupid. If they are so concerned about the costs of health insurance then why don't the companies make the smokers pay the difference in the health insurance. This would leave it up to people if they wanted to keep smoking not mandate them.

mike t said...

I can understand companies protecting their investments, the employee, but this practice is discrimination. Why not ban smoking on the premises, encourage programs to help smokers with their addiction, and discounts on insurance premiums or higher contributions to their 401k programs. As far as not hiring people who consume alcohol, this would be impossible. The amount of people that consume alcohol on occasion would leave a vast percentage of unqualified candidates for many important jobs. This just doesn't make sense at all. Imagine the different activities that people are involved in during their time off, things that could hinder their productivity during work hours. Soon companies will inquire into every detail of daily lives to see if you fit into their idea of a perfect employee.

Hay Naku said...

I do not feel that this is a fair requirement for screening for a job, especially for a government service job. It discriminates against a certain group of people and the basis or whether you smoke or not has little bearing on performance. There are many other options that could be done and are being done by some employers. Obviously, smoking can be banned on the property of the workplace, when a worker is on the clock, and there are more options. Insurance benefits can even be restricted which could also lower premiums. I believe that the policy is unnecessary. Also, I believe smoking is a very bad habit.

blue sky said...

I can understand where the employer would be coming from wanting to know if an employee smokes etc. Especially if they are sponsering the employees health care. BUT, I cannot agree with them having the rights to delve into my personal life to determine my risk factors. Because it starts at smoking. Then was that is completly accepted they take it a step further with drinking then the obesity. Before yo know it Big Brother is watching your every movement and many of your rights have been stripped away in order to appease the higher powers which are selected to govern us. There must be another route as far as having a slightly higher rate for health insurance for those who abuse their health or have them find their own health care if they have diminished their own health that badly.
But at the end of the day I don't agree or support the idea of a company prying into my personal life to determine what they deem suitable for a productive, healty, lifestyle.

Da Chris said...

In my opinion i really don't think they should be allowed to do that. I think that they are using a loop hole in the laws that can allow them to do this. How long is it until they can force other rules upon people, such as specific hair, or tattoos, yes you do say they can't discriminate against appearance, but how do you actually define appearance. Also, even though smokers and drinkers are usually less healthier than normal people, it is an indulgent that they have the right to have, and if done in moderation, has no real effects at all. I just think that there are too many external factors along with the pressure of the hiring process.

I agree with this statement. It is a matter of doing what many people fought for. By doing this, we only revert backwards rather then move forward. Why, then, do we want to further discrimination. The difference here is the people have a choice to doing these action, but some may argue that there are plenty smokers, drinkers and obese who can not avoid their situation. Some people with weight problems have slower metabolism (everyone in America is eating food they shouldn't. Some people have a better metabolism). Smokers may have an oral fixation, and drinkers may be depressed. They have something that is more then just a habit. It's hard to prove one side right or wrong.

Typically, when a situation is hard to determine, I usually saw towards choice. For instance (sorry) abortion is a tricky debate. So, why not leave the option there since neither side can convince the other rather then remove something for one party when no one can prove the argument (in my way, the result will not hard or limit another side).

Of course, like the comment said, if we are going start with this, then anyone can discrimination for whatever BS reason we have. When one gets let though, why not the rest.

Alaine said...

I am neither for nor against smoking as a criterion for employment. I think there will be both negative and positive effects if this idea is implemented. Yet still, I do believe it is still a bit ridiculous and going a little too far into people’s personal lives. What’s going to be the next criteria? It seems in the near future people probably have to change their entire lifestyle so they would be able to find employment. Everything now is becoming a factor to determine whether you will be employed.
On the other hand I can still see a few benefits, such as: lowering the cost of a company’s health insurance, encouraging a lot more smokers to quit smoking and less pollution in the work environment. However, in my opinion, the whole idea is going to force smokers to quit smoking. Although I am not a smoker, it’s a free country and I don’t believe that people should be placed in a situation where they have to choose over their jobs and smoking. Let them quit smoking willingly if they want to.

HarlequinMask said...

I think that not hiring people who smoke is a very grave mistake. I know a lot of people who smoke and they're extremely good people. I know a lot of people who don't smoke that are very mean and not good people in general. To ban hiring police would make it a lot harder for a person to get a job in an already unstable workforce. It would make it that much harder to nab a job. I know people who work at a hospital and smoke. Sure it may reduce health insurance costs but its unfair to the people.

fender71 said...

I think that every person has a personal right to do anything within the law that they desire. If they meet the needs of the job and smike or drink away from that bussiness and don't embares themsevles in a way tha could make that certain bussiness look bad than i do not think that smoking or drinking should be used as a criteria. As long as it doesnt annoy the people that also work in the same area.

cale87 said...

I believe that everyone has the right to do whatever they want to do and if they choose to smoke and is not in the place where the work at they should be allow to smoke because everything you do outside work is only your business nobody else. Even though is a good idea so that people are healthier I don’t think they should ban smokers to be able to get a job because first that’s your personal life and any employer should be allow to investigate how you live or what you prefer to do with your life unless is something really bad like been on jail or something similar.

Rose said...

Yes I think that employers should be able to utilize smoking as a criteria. Smokers get too may breaks as is. Do you know how anoying it is to see smokers get to leave every hour on the hour, while others sit there and continue to work non stop until they get their measley 15 min break. Also if you are on your 15 minute break here they come also smoking up the air you breathe and have the nerve to get an attitude if you ask them to move.
Their isn't a smoker that comes to work and does not smoke, but they are people that drink that do not drink on the job. Well atleast the ones that don't have a serious drinking problem. I also think that employers should also use drinking as a criteria because people that have hang overs cannot make it to work the next day, and even if they do, they cannot function 100%.
If you work for the government, they are allowed to go as far back into your personal life as possible, you have no choice. It just goes to show the type of job that you have is made up in a way that they are all in your personal business. Im not saying that its right, thats just the way things are set up.

michelleyip said...

I believe smoking is a bad habit but you should still be able to smoke at work. But like many have mentioned there are good and bad reasons. Maybe a lot of smokers will stop smoking to maintain their job. Now the workplace will be smoke free and be a healthier place… no second hand smoke? But some people relief stress by smoking. So what if the person is having a off day. People who are hiring shouldn’t base it from if you smoke or not. That’s just not right. People work good or bad whether they are smokers or non-smokers.