Is your employer ‘blowing smoke’? | Getty Images

Everyone knows and is cognizant of the detrimental health effects caused by smoking. No need to expand on the subject. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you know how I personally feel about smoking and everything tied to it (yeah.. I’m not a fan).

It seems that smoking has become quite mainstream. Just a couple years ago there was a major movement across many states to make their facilities ‘smoke free’. No more ‘smoking’ lounges, no more butt-huts, and no more outdoor ashtrays. Facilities decided to take a proactive approach the only way they knew how. If you were going to smoke while you were in or near their facility they were going to make it damn hard for you to enjoy it. I heard that some facilities even required you to walk across the street, or couldn’t be on the same block if you really wanted that drag of choice (can you imagine how those cold winter days felt?)

That was a few years ago.

It seems we are upping the ante. There’s a new movement to not only make some medical / hospital facilities smoke-free, but to make all employees smoke-free. OK. Let me re-phrase that, all potential employees and hiring prospects will be smoke-free. If you smoke, they don’t want you working for their facility.

I guess the smoke-free facility movement along with free-of-charge cessation programs wasn’t cutting it.

(Let that jostle around in your brain a bit)

So you want a job huh? Do you smoke? Sorry, can’t hire you (and the economy is so good right now!)

Is that discrimination? Or just a strong stance on improved personal health? Can one be discriminated over an action they voluntarily partake in? I mean let’s be honest here, no one is pointing a gun to their head and telling them to smoke.

I’m not a smoker. Never have been, never will. I won’t bore you with my personal reasons, but aside from my personal opinions – how can you defend the act of smoking? I mean it does nothing good for the human body. Every aspect of it detracts from a person’s health, not only the person smoking the cigarette, but then the second-hand smoke and the dirty, smelling aftermath we all have to ‘tolerate’. The list explaining the negative aspects of smoking is endless, yet here we sit debating over whether or not a hiring policy against tobacco use is discriminatory?

Personally and professionally I’m all for it. I give these institutions a flaring high-five if I could.

But, then I take a step back and ponder something greater. If we allow companies to discriminate *cough* *cough*, sorry if we allow companies to adopt a tobacco user no-hire policy, then what is next?

Personal freedom is a funny thing. It’s about as intangible as the air, but the minute you take it away from us, or start to put restrictions on it – we feel a lil less human, and extremely threatened.

When do the ‘policies’ stop? I mean we put a stop to someone’s potential livelihood in the form of employment because of the habit they participate in. While I don’t agree with the act of smoking and everything that goes along with it, I have had the honor of meeting and working side by side with some of the finest professionals who happen to smoke. Had these policies been in place, a lot of lives would not have been blessed with their professional talents. So I wonder just how effective would these policies really be?

Things that make you go hmm.

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4 Responses to Is your employer ‘blowing smoke’?

  1. Rebecca

    It seems that employers want “PERFECT” employees. I do not smoke but you are right, at which point are policies becoming excessive? I have seen job applications that ask if you smoke. These days most resumes are rejected by a computer program and many people are not even seen or otherwise given a chance at a job if you do not have the right keywords. Just because someone looks good on paper does not mean they are good nurses and vice versa. Also, most employers want 1 to 2 to 3 years of experience in a given speciality. That also weeds out some otherwise great nurses. How does a person get experience if they cannot get hired? Even the most basic and generic speciality ie. med/surg ask for 1-2 years of experience. Nursing is supposed to be a profession which cares and gives understanding to others but I have experienced the opposite within the profession. It seems that it does eat it’s young, ignores those who haven’t networked properly and discards the older (and highly experienced) workers.

    • Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

      @ Rebecca Yes, the job market is tough these days. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sean

    what’s next, not hiring overweight or obese nurses because they choose to eat too much or choose to not exercise and be in shape? Overeating & not being healthy “is an action they voluntarily partake in”, right? Being overweight or obese is a threat to one’s health & could cost the company more in insurance costs too! I agree that healthcare workers, of all people, shouldn’t smoke. But like your last thought (which gets the least amount of mention in the article), “when do the ‘policies’ stop”? More things to think about…

  3. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @Sean Absolutely, almost too much to think about sometimes. Thanks for the comment.