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Submission + - Hiring Smokers – Banned In South Florida City (huffingtonpost.com) 3

Penurious Penguin writes: On October 2, City Commissioners of Delray Beach finalized a policy which prohibits agencies from hiring employees who use tobacco products. Delray Beach isn't alone though; other Florida cities such as Hollywood and Hallandale Beach, require prospective employees to sign affidavits declaring themselves tobacco-free for 12 months prior to the date of application. Throughout the states, both government and businesses are moving to ban tobacco-use beyond working hours. Many medical facilities, e.g. hospitals, have already, or intend to implement similar policy. In some more-aggressive environments referred to as nicotine-free, employee urine-samples can be taken and tested for any presence of nicotine, not excluding that from gum or patches. Employees testing positive can be terminated.

The primary rationale behind these policies has been frugality, citing greater insurance-costs for smokers, and the savings implied by eliminating them from the workforce. In some less aggressive situations, persistent smokers are imposed a "Tobacco User Surcharge" of $20 per paycheck and offered waived co-payments for smoking-cessation drugs.

Efforts to cut expenses and encourage better health seem perfectly normal. Policy prohibiting activities otherwise legal, but unbefitting a workplace environment also seem normal. However, employers or government defining employee's domestic lifestyles is a relatively new concept, especially when nothing illegal is involved. It would be difficult, if not impossible to argue that smoking is without consequences; but is breeching the boundaries of the household inconsequential?

Times do change, and adaptation is often a necessary burden. But have they changed so much that we'd now postpone the Manhattan project for 12 months because Oppenheimer had toked his pipe? Would we confine our vision to the Milky Way or snub the 1373 Cincinnati because Hubble smoked his? Would we shun relativity, or shelve the works of Tolkien because he and C. S. Lewis had done the same? If so, then where will it stop? Will we soon scan employees for signs of excessive sugar, trans-fats and cholesterol? Will we have authenticated and logged aerobics classes? I, for one, welcome answers from our new salubrious overlords.

Government

Submission + - Hiring Smokers - Banned In South Florida City (huffingtonpost.com)

Penurious Penguin writes: Earlier this week, City Commissioners of Delray Beach finalized a policy which now prohibits agencies from hiring employees who've used tobacco products within 12 months prior to application. In other Florida cities, such as Hollywood and Hallandale Beach, prospective employees must sign affidavits declaring themselves tobacco-free for 12 months prior to the date of application. Elsewhere, throughout the states, both cities and businesses are moving to ban tobacco-use beyond working hours. The city of Fort Worth, TX is considering such bans, and many hospitals have already done so, or intend to. In some environments referred to as nicotine-free, employee urine-samples are taken and tested for any signs nicotine, not excluding that from gum or patches. Employees testing positive can be terminated.
The rationale behind these policies has been primarily economic, citing greater insurance-costs for smokers and the savings implied by eliminating them from the workforce. In some less aggressive situations, persistent smokers are imposed a "Tobacco User Surcharge" of $20 per paycheck and offered waived co-payments for smoking-cessation drugs.
As one might presume, this subject isn't without controversy. Many argue that in efforts to address the effects of tobacco, other confirmed sources of ill-health are treated with less concern, such as transfats, nitrates, obesity, excessive sugar consumption and sloth. The fact that not just smoking, but tobacco and nicotine itself are being banned beyond the workplace, is certainly worth some consideration — especially while they remain legal activities.
Is tobacco an intrinsically wicked plant? In Sweden, where tobacco products are commonly used in the form of snus, tobacco-related cancers are amongst the lowest in Europe. Due to its curing process, nitrosamines — a primary carcinogen in tobacco — are found in much lower levels in Swedish snus than in other tobacco products. Snus is even labeled as a food product in Sweden. Strangely, what so often seems left out of anti-tobacco rhetoric are the aspects of abuse, deceptive advertisement and peculiar ingredients. Whether or not tobacco can cause grievous harm is not a matter to contest; but maybe perspective has wandered. Would we decline employment to the likes of an Oppenheimer, Hubble, or Einstein because they toked a smoke 6 months ago? Surely one might encourage them to quit, but to shun? Have we become so self-righteous that we no longer lend others the privilege of indulging in lawful behavior? Without making any cases for a hideous industry, can it be asked if this is going too far?

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