Breaking story… Smoking can get you banned from getting a job!
If you’re a smoker looking for a job then you may find yourself facing an uphill battle, especially if you work in the medical field. Many hospital and health care facilities throughout the United States are adopting stricter policies that permit smoking to be a reason to say no to certain job applicants.
The reasons cited is these workplaces want to reduce the costs associated with health care, as well as support healthier living practices and increase the productivity of their employees.
These new policies have come about because other milder efforts to coax smokers to quit just haven’t worked. These include offering cessation programs, banning smoking on business grounds and increasing health care premiums for those who smoke.
What these new laws do is treat cigarettes as if they’re an illegal form of narcotic. Some job applications warn those looking for work of “tobacco-free hiring” and deem it a necessity for applicants to agree to take urine tests to screen for nicotine. Those who do get hired and then are caught smoking face losing their newly acquired jobs.
The pendulum has shifted in a dramatic fashion. Workplaces once thought of as smoke-free are now becoming smoker-free. While some people are on-board with this idea it has prompted controversy and serious debate from other corners. Even anti-tobacco groups who put tremendous efforts into getting people to give up smoking wonder if this hasn’t gone too far. They questions if these policies are now delving too deeply into the personal lives of employees.
Smoking may not be a healthy habit but it’s a legal one that many feel should be a personal choice and not something forced upon those who choose to indulge in it.
According to Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, who has written on this new trend, “If enough of these companies adopt these policies and it really becomes difficult for smokers to find jobs, there are going to be consequences.” He goes on to say that, “Unemployment is also bad for health.”
While turning job seekers down from jobs is not a new trend – which has led to more than half of the states passing laws that reject bans being placed on smokers – the recent surge of businesses adopting these no-smoker rules has sparked interest in some circles and anger and disbelief in others.
At the present time there is no reliable data about how many companies have adopted these policies or rejected them.
However those who are closely watching this issue say it’s becoming more mainstream all of the time. To provide an example of this, hospitals in the states of Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas stopped hiring individuals who smoke in 2010 and more are planning to follow suit in the future.
The organizations that have embraced this policy defend their position by arguing they’re attempting to promote personal well-being and trying to find ways to reduce the rising cost of health care. On the other hand concerns voiced by groups such as the National Workrights Institute follow along this line – if this policy is successful in reducing health care costs what other personal behaviors of their employees will they then point an accusing finger at? Examples that have been cited include drinking alcohol, eating fast food or participating in risky pastimes.
An estimated one in five Americans smoke. Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable deaths. According to federal estimates, workers who smoke cost an estimated $3,391 more annually in terms of lost productivity and health care than do their non-smoking counterparts.
As somebody who’s in the profession of helping people to quit smoking I wouldn’t want to see a deluge of smokers needing to quit so they can get a job. Smoker’s successful at quitting permanently tend to quit for their own personal reasons rather than have it thrust upon them – otherwise they return as quickly as they quit.
If you live in my service area and want to discuss this topic further to see if my one session stop smoking hypnosis program at my metro-west Boston location can help you quit and determine if you’re ready then contact me here.
Erika Slater, CH
Free At Last Hypnosis
Hypnosis Services for Metro-West Boston Massachusetts
Stop Smoking Hypnosis Resources
5 Goss Pond Road,
Upton, MA 01568