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Smokers: Should They be Barred from Jobs?

One Bay area county is considering it and we’d like to get your take on the issue!

The days of smokers being able to light up in restaurants, public buildings and the workplace are long since over.

After all, it’s common knowledge that smoking is bad for a person’s health and the health of others around the smoker.

But, should smokers be denied employment?

Pasco County is grappling with just that question as other Bay area agencies have made the switch to hiring only nonsmokers, citing skyrocketing insurance costs.

Sarasota County already bans smokers from being hired. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office has employed the anti-employment practice since 2008. Other employers, including hospitals and cities throughout the state have similar rules on the books.

While the list of employers that won’t hire smokers climbs, the practice of smoking remains legal in the United States. Even President Barack Obama has been known to take a puff or two.

What’s your take, Tampa Bay? Is it OK to ban smokers from getting jobs? Or, do you fear this practice will open the door for beer drinkers, sugar-fiends, fast-food junkies and other partakers of legal, yet somewhat indulgent actions, to be barred from employment? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

Michael D. May 06, 2013 at 09:26 PM
Greg, First, now you see where I was coming from, and why I used the examples of Hooters, Winghouse, Torrid, and public gyms. These types of bannings have been happening for 8 decades in other forms in other industries. Do those comparisions make more sense now? And I do not believe it will become manatory, for all the reasons, I have already given you. Senior Management, Congress, the Tobacco Lobby, etc... The same problems with our political system, are at times the things that save it. Like alcohol it would be counterproductive to outlaw tobacco products. Then we would be dealing with prohibition again, but on a grander scale. The difference is that Tobacco Money is much stronger and more traditional than alcohols money, and the addiction to it is more spread out. Not politician worth their seat would vote for it. Similar to a ban on guns, will never happen in the next 100-200 years, it is social/cultural. The Tobacco Lobby like the Gun/Military Lobby is much to powerful to allow such a Prohibition to happen.
Michael D. May 07, 2013 at 02:15 PM
It's not the insurance companies, but the companies who paid for said insurance that are making these decisions. It also comes from business metrics as lost time/productivity. An employer has every right to choose or not choose anyone who they want in their organization. That's all this is. If it is deemed more effecient for an organization to only hire non-smokers, then it is their right to do so. Those employers that put restrictions are going to loose out on some talented employees, but that is their decision. This isn't about safety, just economics.
Dotti Benz Giles May 14, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Of course government agencies should not hire smokers or drug abusers. Prospective government employees should submit to the same testing as prospective government welfare recipients. Oh, yeah, drug testing freeloaders was deemed discriminatory. Setting aside sarcasm now; all employers should be able to employ whoever they want, as long as they don't discriminate based on something a prospective employee was born with, ie, race or gender. Everything else is a preference, not discrimination.
Toby Greenhorn May 30, 2013 at 09:04 AM
I think it takes a lot of courage to ban smokers from taking employment, but it should be considered especially if it is hazardous for the company environment. I would think that it depends on the job and the organization’s service – if the work requires a lifestyle of non-smoking, then to start with, hire non-smokers. But if not, then do not discriminate. The most that the company should be able to do would be to regulate smoking in the workplace, and provide designated areas for smoking only. I have seen some companies who have been given commendations for keeping the work environment smoke-free. I would call this as green smoke movement, which makes both smokers and non-smokers co-exist. - http://www.cubancigaropedia.com
Eat my butt June 12, 2013 at 11:09 PM
I like tater tots. In fact I love them so much that I masturbate with them. Ketchup really is the best lube.

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