Is your employer ‘blowing smoke’?

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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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