Smoker's need not apply

Sara - posted on 12/23/2010 ( 136 moms have responded )

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Is this within the rights of the employer who is probably paying their health insurance or does it violate the employee's right to privacy?

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2010/12/21/sm...


Smokers Need Not Apply
NEWBURYPORT (CBS) — If you smoke, don’t bother applying for a job at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport.
The hospital is requiring job applicants to take nicotine tests. If they test positive, they’ll be rejected. If they quit smoking, they can try again six months later.


“How far do we want our private employers to intrude in our private lives?” asks employee rights attorney Philip Gordon. “What happens if, during that blood test, they find out something else about me?”

Hospital spokesperson Deb Chiaravalloti says, “We believe as a health care organization we need to make sure we have a healthy environment for our employees and our patients. Smokers are not a protected class.”

Last year, the hospital prohibited employees from smoking in the designated fenced-off area outside the building.

Next year, the hospital plans to ban smoking on the campus all together, even for patients and visitors.

While Anna Jaques is the first hospital in Massachusetts to require nicotine testing, it is not the first employer. Last month, the Massachusetts Hospital Association announced it is no longer hiring smokers.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Mary - posted on 12/25/2010

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After reading some of these responses, all I can say is - wow - many of you have some pretty unrealistic expectations of nurses (and, most likely all healthcare providers).

Ummm, I hate to shatter your ideals, but we are people - just like the rest of you. We are not perfect. We are not your role models for perfect living, we are care givers. We come to work to take care of you, but once our shift is over, we lead ordinary lives just like the rest of you, which may include eating pizza and wings, buying our kids happy meals, and cracking open a beer. Some of us might even have a smoke with that beer, and sit on the couch watching crap tv instead of jogging a couple of miles after that 12 hour shift.

I think many of you are confusing nurses with nuns. We did not take vows....we took the state boards to get our license. Nursing is a career, but not necessarily a vocation. You can still be a damned good nurse without being Mother Theresa.

Mary - posted on 12/23/2010

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The problem I have with this falls into that "where do you draw the line?" question. Today we're not hiring smokers. Next year, we plan to not hire people with a BMI over __. We need to project a healthy image for our patients, and obese nurses/doctors/pharmacists/sonographers/housekeepers do not provide good role models. (not to mention the added health insurance costs they produce).

I'm all for banning smoking anywhere on the campus by anyone. But not hiring people who smoke outside of there work environment? No, I am bothered by an employer who tries to dictate what you do on your own time, no matter what it is.

For those of you who support this based on the notion of protecting patients from third-hand smoke exposure....this measure will not accomplish that. Those who are already employed and smoke will still be there. You should also be aware that not all the people you encounter are hospital employees. Most physicians are not employees of the hospital; they are self-employed "businesses" that have privileges to practice at that hospital. Even the ones that do not see patients outside of the hospital setting, such as ER docs or anesthesiologists are usually a private group that contracts with the hospital to provide their services. They are not subjected to the same rules, regulations or HR policies that hospital employees are. As well, most hospitals contract out the housekeeping and food services - these people are not hospital employees either, and therefore exempt from this policy. And last but not least...many hospitals are dependent upon outside agencies to fill critical vacancies that arise within nursing, respiratory therapists, techs, and a host of other direct patient care givers. If you have an agency nurse instead of one employed by the hospital, she very well could have been smoking in her car on her way to work.

Hannah - posted on 12/23/2010

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I actually have to agree with the decision that his hospital is making. Working in and around people who are at the hospital for care because of sickness and/or diseases, their health should be number one priority. No one in the hospital who is there for health care should have to smell second hand smoke off of someones hand, clothes, or even their breath. If it was someone that smokes it might not bother them but if it is someone who can not stand the smell(like myself) I would not want that person hovering over me, and smelling like an ash tray. And certainly if I had to engage in work with a fellow co worker who did smoke and I smelled the smoke on their clothes or got wiff of their breath, it would just want to make me hurl. And while some people may disagree, people who choose to smoke make the choice to smoke, but that doesnt mean because of the choice to smoke doesnt mean that people that are in their care should have to deal with it the smell as well. I dont know why some smokers dont understand that something they choose to do harm to themselves does not automatically give them the right to do what they choose to do ie smoking around other people. I think there has been respect lost along the way and when people say that well Im the one smoking so what's wrong with that...Well just remember that whoever you are around and they dont smoke, they didnt ask to be doused in your ashtray afterscent...Just my thoughts on that

Nicole - posted on 12/23/2010

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Smoking is a choice (or at least for most it began with a choice before the addiction set in) just as getting piercings, wearing a certain hairstyle, having tattoos, wearing make-up, drinking alcohol, etc. and, therefore, may have consequences for choosing said things. But being a certain gender or race, having a disability, etc. are NOT choices that an individual can make and can not be disqualified for employment based on those.



This may be an extreme decision to some, but in the end, this is a health care establishment and should, therefore, set an example of health and wellness. This would apply to those representing the establishment, too (i.e. employees).

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/23/2010

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Sara, the healthcare could definately NOT cover smoking issues and have that be out of cost to the employee...as far as 3rd hand smoke causing asthma attacks...they need to ban all kinds of perfume, lotions, deoderant, hairspray, and even make sure employees use allergen free laundry soap and fabric softner for that matter! Also, really make sure they don't hire anyone with pets!!! They might have hair on there clothes that could trigger a patients reaction...hell..my niece is highly allergic to cats. I had 2 cats at the time, and didn't realize I had any fur on me....her eyes started watering, she started sneezing,....and breathing got very difficult. Good thing she had a benadryl!

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/26/2010

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Lol Barb, I am glad to have made your day!

Mary, their loss! Hopefully your voice is/was heard wherever you worked.

Becky - posted on 12/26/2010

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They're not really dictating what you can do in your personal life though, because they're not telling current employees who smoke that they have to quit or lose their jobs. They're just setting criteria for who they hire. If a church refused to hire an athiest as a minister, no one would say they're trying to dictate what their employees believe, would they?

Rebecca - posted on 12/26/2010

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I agree with it. We can't wear perfume in hospital's so why should people who work there be allowed to smoke in their car on their way to work and go in smelling like smoke. Second hand smoke kills as well so i think this hospital is doing something great and i hope more hospital's follow this policy

Mary - posted on 12/25/2010

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Dana - I have no doubt that the hospital is legally entitled to enact this policy. I have complete faith that they researched this extensively before doing it. Does it fall under the current legal definition of discrimination? No.

As I said in my first post, what bothers me is the idea of an employer dictating what behaviors are acceptable when you are NOT at work. For me, it's not so much about what that behavior is....if you do your job well, what you do on your time off (as long as it's legal) should not be subject to regulation and scrutiny. I find it a disturbing practice that could escalate in scope.

Marina...lol...I would NEVER consider a job in nursing management! I've actually taken a small hiatus from nursing, and have been a sahm since the end of September. I will probably return to nursing (part-time) later in the spring. Unless, of course, something in my personal life makes me ineligible for hire, like...hmmmm....owning a pit bull, or using a scented soap, or perhaps my addiction CoM ;P

Dana - posted on 12/25/2010

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Kaleigh, I'm one of those that don't see anything wrong with private hospitals making such a rule but, I don't think smoking makes someone a horrible person. I myself smoked for 17 yrs but, smoking is horrible for a person and the more ways we can get rid of it entirely I think is good.

Veronica - posted on 12/25/2010

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Thats why I just work for myself, then i dont have to be tested, scrutinized and judged on who i am, or what I do.

But to answer this post, i think it is a violation of privacy, and discrimination. I think its bullsh*t - they should screen for alchohol and prescription drug users too - its rediculous. Thats all i have to say about this.

[deleted account]

This may seem odd coming from a smoker (yes I know God help me I'm horrible) but I agree that they should be allowed to refuse applicants based on smoking as well as test to make sure they're not lying. Even though it is legal to smoke as an employer you wouldn't want any other kind of addict working for you especially in any kind of healthcare facility. Nicotine addiction is still an addiction and you wouldn't want an employee running outside to use narcotics/prescription drugs or alcohol on your property while they're on the clock either. Second hand-smoke in theory will do more health damage to non-smokers than if someone were drinking around non-drinkers. I don't think it is discrimination to ask a healthcare employee to model a healthy lifestyle at home as well as at work. I also wouldn't want convicted criminals employed as police. You choose your vices and you choose your career, I for one do not expect an employer to accomodate me for my addiction if the job is worth it I will quit smoking. If not I will look for a career that better suits my lifestyle eg: as a mother I personally wouldn't work at an abortion clinic it just doesn't suit me, my views, or lifestyle and if the pre-requisite for that job was that I couldn't have kids I wouldn't be offended by that since working there would be hypocritical of me. The pendulum does swing both ways and there are a lot of valid points on the other side of the argument I just personally would have to side with the employer on this matter.

JuLeah - posted on 12/25/2010

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I don't want my daughter's bus driver drinking while on the job, snorting coke, or smoking - even if it is on his/her clothes it gets into her system. I don't want her teacher to be a smoker, her doctor, or the woman we sit next to at the movies. I am all for this - smoking has no up side, it is nasty, gross, and endangers lives.

Barb - posted on 12/25/2010

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Marina You have absolutely just made my day!!! Thank you so very much!! Happiest of Holidays to you!! Mwauh!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/25/2010

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Mary, I hope you are some sort of representative, superviser, or leader of any sort at your job. You know how to say just the right things.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/24/2010

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Dana, about the smoke on the clothes, I was simply trying to point out it can be eliminated. I said somewhere at the begining of this thread that they could shower before their shifts at work, and have clean scrubs to change into. The smell can be bypassed with this. They can also say no smoking during the shift...that is totally fine and understandable. No they should not smell like cigarettes, perfume, lotion, or even bo during a shift. I agree with that whole heartedly...I just think banning it on the job and banning it in someones personal life are 2 different things. Most professions don't want to and shouldn't have to bring their work home...I don't want to have to be dictated by my job at home...that is all.

I am going to try to control myself and not write on this thread anymore...well at least until I have more ammo!!! LOL! I have had the most fun debating this issue than I have had in a loooooonnnnnggg time. Thank you everyone for sticking to your side and hopefully seeing some points of the other side. I begrudgingly admitted defeat on one specific aspect atleast. But I don't agree!!! LOL!

MUAH! Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/24/2010

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@ Vanessa...a nurse smoking on their own free time, and them saving your life are two different things. Them being their to assist during sx, monitor your bedside, dress your wounds..so many things that they do and you are going to say "whooey" to it all becouse they smoke? I am sure that they also eat red meat, drink, gamble, eat bad foods, don't get enough sleep, speed...have unprotected sex...I mean these things are all bad for you and may lead to nothing. You also breath in that nurses car fumes that are toxic, deadly...(yup I am going for the gold on this one) Those toxic car fumes are all around you every day polluting our air that we breath, water that we drink, food that we eat...are you gonna be pissed that she drives a car to?



Barb...excellent retaliation. I can admit when I have been defeated...but you bet your ass I am gonna try to make a comeback on that! LOL...my hat is off to you...I don't like it, and I don't agree with it,,,,...but you got me!



*Barb, I agree that you should have told that nurse her stink was bothering you. Sorry you had to endure that.

Becky - posted on 12/24/2010

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If they are only testing for nicotine in your blood, then they are not going to find out anything else about you during the blood test. They're only going to find out what they're testing for. If they are doing other tests on your blood without you knowing about it, well, that I would have a problem with!

[deleted account]

Well I don't think people should be so offended by it. Why can't they do a test? This whole "what if they find out something else about me?" business? Like what. Drugs? Are you doing something that people can't find out about? Lol. And every time I see a nurse smoking it makes me feel uneasy. They can't even look after themselves and you want them caring for you? You want them making health decisions for you, while behind your back they are doing whatever? Lol. And what happened to second hand smoke anyway people? Lol. Ah I give up on people and their crazyness.

Barb - posted on 12/24/2010

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Under the EEOC you cannot discriminate because of Age, Disability, Genetic Information, National Origin, Pregnancy, Race/Color, Religion, Retaliation, Sex, Sexual Harassment, Equal Pay/Compensation.

I thought perhaps the smoking could somehow come under the "retaliation" but upon looking into that it means it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate for bringing a discrimination suit against them.

Here is the link where i found my information:
http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/index.cfm

Since i've battled with chronic pancreatitis and have trouble with food, keeping it down, nausea, etc. i'm very sensitive to smells. I can walk into an elevator and tell if the last person that was in there was a smoker or not.

My stepdaughter smokes and she doesn't want her grandmother, (my MIL) to know she smokes. She will go to town with me and want to smoke and then try to cover it with lotions. She will ask, "do i smell like smoke?" YES! Yes you do! you smell like smoke and vanilla cotton lotion and i'm about to puke sweetie!" give it up, gma knows, you aren't fooling anyone.

Teresa, btw, thank you for answering, i've also suffered from a nurse that had me gagging a couple of times, it wasn't until this last hospital visit that i was so frustrated, already sick, already vomiting, i was finally resting and she came in, the smell triggered another vomiting spell and i said something. i know i hurt her feelings and i feel bad, i really do. I didn't see her for the rest of my stay, i don't know if she switched rooms or what, maybe her charge nurse switched her. but i just came out and said it. "the smell of your cigarette smoke is making me sick, please leave the room"

should i have just sucked it up and played nice?

[deleted account]

Sorry, Marina, but I agree with Dana. I remember once when my SIL was shocked that I smoked because she said she couldn't smell it on me. I took off my sweater and smelled it myself and of course it smelled like smoke. It's virtually impossible to not. There are of course things that one can do to reduce the smell........smoke in an article of clothing that you can take off and leave behind, don't hold it close to the filter, wash hands, brush teeth etc. but, I'm sorry, people can still smell it.

The other thing that factors in, is everyone's sense of smell. Some people are more sensitive than others.

Dana - posted on 12/24/2010

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If you think I missed your point then feel free to try and explain again, though I don't think I missed your point at all. I just disagree with you.

Smoke sticks to clothes, it has nothing to do with body chemistry if that's what you're trying to say.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/24/2010

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Lol...obviously you missed my point.

One last thought...if they decide that they will not hire smokers, I don't think they can claim "equal opportunity employment" which leads to a whole other debate. That would mean they can discriminate on a number of things :P

Dana - posted on 12/24/2010

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I just don't agree. Just because people are surprised that you smoke doesn't mean you don't smell like smoke.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/24/2010

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Dana, I don't want to split hairs, but my mom smokes 1/2-1 pack per day. I smoked 1-1 1/2 packs per day, and people would be suprised when i lit up. Part of this whole debate that has been ignored, some people for some reason carry the smell with them more. My sister smokes just as much, and she stinks.

Jaime - posted on 12/24/2010

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I can absolutely respect both sides of this debate, because everyone is going to look at personal rights a bit differently. As Dana pointed out though, despite the extreme-ness (yes, I made that up!) of this policy...the hospital is within their right to set a certain standard by which their employees abide. It likely won't cut down on all transfers of toxins from smoking, but it will definitely reduce it significantly. If this was a tobacco farm, I might be inclined to tell them to shove their policy up their ass, but we're talking about a hospital so it's not far fetched for them to implement atypical health standards.

Dana - posted on 12/24/2010

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Marina, some people can smell smoke free because they don't smoke that much - that's about it.

Barb - posted on 12/24/2010

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Happy Holidays Dana!!



Edited to add "EW" about the dentist

[deleted account]

My old dentist smoked. Can you say DISGUSTING.....all you could smell was smoke breath while he's face to face with you rooting around in your mouth. BLECH!

Ok, Marina and all the others who don't agree with this ban, this is my final thought. Do I think it's extreme? Sure. Do I think it will be effective? Can't say. Are they within their legal rights to do so? ABSOLUTELY, and THAT is all I'm arguing.

Peace out! Merry Christmas everyone!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/24/2010

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Dana, you can smell smoke free without being smoke free. No one but the family knows my mother smokes.

Dana - posted on 12/24/2010

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I have to disagree that's it's only being implemented for insurance purposes. There is nothing more annoying to me than going to the doctor's office or hospital and smelling cigarette smoke all over that person.
I think having a smoke free building and employees sets a good example.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/24/2010

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Ok, so here is my thought. Like I have said atleast once in this thread, I am currently not smoking (due to breastfeeding). Let's pretend for a moment 2 things...1. That I intend to stay smoke free. 2. that I am a qualified nurse who applied for this job and received and was hired.



So lets say I have been working there for a while, and I go out for a night with the girls and have a smoke. (there are many different parts to this story). Is the hospital doing random nicotine tests on people who have a history of smoking? What if I do not tell them that I have ever smoke, are they doing random tests on everyone? Do I sign a contract saying I will never smoke and if I do I can be terminated for this "offense?" and if they are only going to do random nicotine tests on people that have smoked in the past...well they can lie and smoke on their own free time...not smoke before work..shower and have smoke free clothes.



To get my question back on track, what about if I have people around me that smoke? Does the nicotine testing show diofferent levels of nicotine...so that if my hubby smoked in the car with me I would still pass the test? Or like I said...I go out for a night with the girls and have 1 measley cigarette...do you get fired for that?



I have stated previously that I think no smoking on campus is great...but I do feel that it would be infringing on your personnal life. I have also mentioned how to eliminate the smell of smoke on people that are smokers...the patients would be none the wiser.



I am concluding this thought by saying, I whole heartedly thing this is just strictly a rule that is being implimented for insurance purposes. I don't think they give a shit about how it could effect the employees health...or that the patients could give a rats ass....or even know that their health provider is a smoker.



*employees could be smoke free when hired and start smoking later down the road if they are not doing nicotine testing,,...

Nicole - posted on 12/24/2010

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Alright Barb, you kind of nailed how I feel about it. I have worked many jobs where I felt that the smokers got some sort of special treatment because they needed to take so many breaks per day. I recall one job (many years ago) where I worked at a local business store and during some shifts I was the only person that didn't smoke. Well, there would be times where they would all go outside and talk while smoking and if anyone came in to the store during that time, I had to do everything because everyone else was outside! I felt it wasn't fair and downright rude. I actually started saying "I'm going out for a 'smoke break' and would just go out and call and chit chat to my husband." LOL

Anyway, my point: This may go deeper than just projecting an image of health or even more than the cost of health care for the smoking employees. Truthfully, the employer may feel that smokers will not perform their duties as well. Maybe they will "need" to smoke before their normal break and will take one anyway to do so. Smokers are more at risk to be sick and this may mean more time away from work. And as Barb touched on, obesity can cause the same types of worries for potential employers. Especially if obesity can hinder their work performance.

I'm not saying that I love that an employer is telling potential employees what they can or can't do in their free time to established employment with them, but we should be looking at why they feel the need to do so.

As long as the employer is not discriminating against someone for something they can not help, that does not interfere with productivity, then it is, in the end, their choice who they want to hire or not hire.

Dana - posted on 12/24/2010

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I'm not really sure Barb because that's the part that I just "heard", I'm going to try and look into it more. Of course by the time I find the answers, this thread will be old. lol

Barb - posted on 12/24/2010

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Dana, that is really interesting about that hospital near you. Are they not hiring mildly overweight, overweight, obese, morbidly obese or all of the above?



I recall one job the contractor hired a guy out of the hall for what's called a "short call" it's a 2 week call and he doesn't lose his place on the book.



He was so large that he was not allowed on any of the ladders and he got to do all the gravy work because he couldn't be on any of the scaffolds because he couldn't fit into any of the harnesses and they weren't rated for his weight either. He basically got to sit on a bucket and do terminations.

Barb - posted on 12/24/2010

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Petra i completely respect that and have so many times felt the exact same way on these debate threads. I've also felt, "man i really hate the way she is saying that but i have to agree that what she says is correct"



Your post reminded me of one of my favorite SNL sketches. I'm going to try to post a video here, i hope i'm doing it correctly, so here goes:



Chippendales Dance Off - SNL



Love them both, may they rest in peace.



I am not seeing the difference in the two arguments quite frankly. Healthy lifestyle is bound to bring down insurance costs, to me they go hand in hand.

Dana - posted on 12/24/2010

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I just wanted to touch on something Mary said: "The problem I have with this falls into that "where do you draw the line?" question. Today we're not hiring smokers. Next year, we plan to not hire people with a BMI over __. We need to project a healthy image for our patients, and obese nurses/doctors/pharmacists/sonographers/housekeepers do not provide good role models. (not to mention the added health insurance costs they produce)."

We have a new hospital that was just built in the area, in the last year, they don't hire smokers and I've "heard" that they won't hire overweight people either. I was just told this, about the overweight part but, from what I was told, it's not a secret either, they straight up say no smokers and no overweight people.

Petra - posted on 12/24/2010

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@Barb - I agree with everything you're saying, I just don't like it. :-)

It is a matter of consent and it boils down to choice. Being hot and thin are the prerequisites for modeling, and no one cries discrimination against the average-looking woman. While I agree that it is within the hospital's rights to set their hiring standards as such, they are taking it that step further. I think the valid arguments lie in the insurance costs argument, rather than the "healthy lifestyle for health providers" argument. In my place of work, I do not qualify for the enhanced insurance package due to my smoker status, and I don't take issue with that at all. It's when this health ideal is pushed in one area and not others that it bothers me.

Jaime - posted on 12/24/2010

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The other thing to remember is that employers can't police every aspect of an employees life. But they can reduce certain risks for the benefit of the business, patients and employees alike. I'm sure that most hospitals would love to insist that their staff eat wholesome foods that are low in fat, nutritious and so on, but there's only so much that can be done. Imposing a no-smoking policy is not such a bad thing when you consider all of the crap we deal with on a daily basis and all of the super bad habits we have to break for ourselves and make sure that our children don't inherit.

Jaime - posted on 12/24/2010

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I think the argument that this is an invasion of rights is weak, because as has been shown several times through example, there are numerous policies that people have to abide by in the work place. A policy to ban smoking or to insist that employees be non-smokers cannot be compared with things like taking away caffeine, salty/sweet food, and on and on because smoking affects more than just the smoker. If this hospital wants to impose a non-smoking policy to set a health standard within their facility, then I see no infringement of rights. If the hospital were to fire a smoker after hiring them under a different set of policies, that employee would have reason to file a complaint/suit for wrongful dismissal. This policy has nothing to do with discrimination, it has everything to do with specific standards being imposed. I think that there are definitely flaws in these standards, because as Mary mentioned all of the workers that are under contract with the hospital don't subscribe to the same policies as the actual employees. Not sure how they plan to get around that one, but as for their current no-smoking policy...it doesn't break any laws.

Tara - posted on 12/24/2010

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@Amber, you said you would not accept medical care or advice from someone who is obese. Hmmmm... I think that's a little judgmental.. Suppose you take your child into the hospital and he has a broken arm, the doctor in the emergency department is obese (it's genetic and he's been battling it all his life but you don't know that, you just see him as morbidly obese) and you honestly wouldn't accept treatment for your child based on the doctors size???
Really? So everyone in the health care field should be the epitome of health?? No smokers and no obese people? I sure hope you don't need health care in the near future, cause yo might have trouble finding someone who is completely free of bad habits and health issues.
Do you also think that health care workers should have to take a physical endurance test before they can work? Just to weed out all the really fat and stupid people????
Really?

Barb - posted on 12/24/2010

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Don't like it, don't apply, a person is not forced to apply and therefore it is not a forced invasion of rights.

A flight attendant must have certain height/weight requirements as well as a healthy immune system.
http://www.cabincrewjobs.com/flight-atte...

Many times an alcoholics issues stumble into the work place. Either they are still have toxins in their system in the morning when they show up for work, or they have shakes by the end of the day because the toxins are leaving the system. I would not want an alcoholic driving my child's bus, my airplane i'm riding on, or in the control tower controlling the rest of the planes in the air.

It is no longer a personal choice when you chose to apply for that job. You are not forced to apply. That is why the story starts off with "smokers need not apply"

I'd also like to hit on something Marina said about long haired people. My Jr just went off to boot camp. He chose to join the USMC. This means he just chose to have his head shaved. And for the next 5 years he's chosen a certain hair style. Granted, this maybe the only employer that regulates your hair, but it was what jumped to mind when i read that. :)

Petra - posted on 12/24/2010

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I feel like they are walking a fine line here. While I see the merit to the "irritant" argument with respect to patients, the argument that they want to project the image of health is irrelevant when they can not, and will not, enforce this ideal for all other personal choices that are not "healthy". It is like saying if you consume any alcohol at all, you can not work there. The choice to engage in an unhealthy habit does not have to affect those you come into contact with. Barring someone from employment based on what they do in their personal time is definitely toeing the human rights line. It is socially acceptable to condemn smokers, but not the obese. It is not hard for a smoker to limit 3rd hand smoke exposure and it is perfectly okay to ban smoking from the premises, but to say you can not smoke, period, if you want to work here, is pushing it. Your personal life and your professional life are two separate things. When a habit in your personal life negatively affects your abilities in your professional life, then you have a sound basis for this kind of argument. Its fine to be an alcoholic, as long as you're not indulging at work. Its fine to be a gambler, as long as you're not gambling at work. Its fine to like butt sex, as long as you're not having butt sex at work. Personal choice doesn't have to factor into your professionalism. I really don't like the idea of refusing employment based on something that is already controlled within the work place - it is borderline invasion of privacy, though because you have to consent to this invasion if you want to work there, it does fall into that grey area. I don't like it at all.

Barb - posted on 12/24/2010

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From the first article that Hannah posted: "As health care providers, it's important for the hospital to help employees, who are helping patients, and to show that they "don't think smoking is a good thing," she said."

That sums it up for me.

This is what the employer wants so the employer is going to choose to hire employees that will make this happen.

Meghan - posted on 12/23/2010

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I totally agree. I can see both sides as well. But we can't but sooo much on how a doctor conducts himself OUTSIDE of a hospital/office...imo anyway lol

C. - posted on 12/23/2010

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Hmm.. Good point, Meghan. But on the other hand, I've never heard of anyone having an allergy to the smell of salt or sugar, ya know? I mean, I can see both ways, definitely. Giving nicotine tests CAN be an invasion of rights, but then I guess some people can say that drug testing is an invasion of rights as well. Granted one is illegal and one is not, but neither are good for you and can affect your moods. And while I do believe that people should be free to choose to smoke or not smoke, a small part of me can still see the other side's perspective..

Meghan - posted on 12/23/2010

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Yea, but doctors are human beings too...does that mean they shouldn't drink caffeine, eat any salty/sweet foods aswell?

C. - posted on 12/23/2010

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I actually kind of agree with it. Here's why:

It makes sense to me. Smoke is an irritant and people that are in the hospital are already suffering from one thing or another.. Why should they have to put up with a nurse/doctor that smells like smoke? Some people are allergic to smoke, which includes headaches, nausea, congestion, etc.. If they're already putting up with some kind of illness or something, why should they have to worry about that kind of allergy? And yes, I am allergic to smoke (and yes, I smoke but I still get congestion and migraines if I have too many). But for those that have the allergy and do not smoke? I just don't see what's wrong with this rule.

And besides, doctors and nurses should be projecting an image of a healthy lifestyle, am I right..?

[deleted account]

I think its one thing to ban smoking from the campus but I don't think they should be able to not hire someone because they smoke. The doctor I take my kids to offers an incentive program to help employees quit. She offers a $250 bonus to employees that quit and will also help with patches or gum or whatever else you may want to try. My aunt works for a car dealership and they gave her $100 dollars when she quit.

Stifler's - posted on 12/23/2010

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I have been known to smoke when I'm drinking. LOL. Not that I remember this.

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