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Smoking Could Cost You a Job

Could Being a Smoker Keep You From Getting a Job?

If you're planning to work in the medical profession, smoking could keep you from getting a job. For more and more hospitals and other health-focused businesses, not smoking at or near the workplace isn't enough; it could be a reason to deny applicants a job. The policies are an acknowledgment that prohibiting smoking on workplace grounds, offering incentives to quit, and even increasing health care premiums for smokers haven't been enough to keep people from smoking.

The screening for nicotine use is similar to the screening process for illegal drugs; urine tests are performed on applicants, and new employees who are caught smoking could face termination. But the practice is getting scrutiny from many, including, unlikely enough, anti-tobacco groups who say that it establishes a precedent of employers intruding into employees' private lives — for a habit that is legal.

Is this the next step in the trend toward strongly encouraging employees to improve their health situations? Healthier employees ultimately do cost insurance companies less money, so employers have a clear interest in employee health. But do employers — even in the health field — have a say in their employees' personal lives on this level? I'm torn; I don't smoke or support it, but I do respect the right to privacy, especially when the activity in question is legal. That said, I'm not sure I'd want my doctor, nurse, or other health professional to be a smoker. What do you think?

Join The Conversation
HollyJRockNRoll HollyJRockNRoll 6 years
This is absurd! People smoking is really no one's business. As long as they do it on their own time and space, no one else should be concerned. For those of you who do not agree, think of it this way: If they try to crack down even more on smokers, who is to say the powers that be won't crack down on other unhealthy, harmful practices-like eating junk food, drinking too much caffeine, eating too much sugar, being overweight or underweight. Really the list goes on and on. People have to be responsible for themselves. It's THEIR job, not employers, government, or anyone else.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
wow i'm not okay with this at all. I am not a smoker but I agree that this is a huge violation of privacy. I do think it's okay for employers to say that an employee can't smoke during office hours or come in smelling of smoke. But what they do on their own time is their business.
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