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Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the welcome-to-our-prohibition-already-in-progress dept.

Businesses 1199

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 implemented or intend to implement similar policies. 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. 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?"

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1199 comments

Make it illegal (3, Informative)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567579)

Why not just make smoking illegal? The policy seams to be that it is bad and that should not do it, so maybe it should be enforced.

Re:Make it illegal (4, Interesting)

YukariHirai (2674609) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567609)

Why not just make smoking illegal?

So far, every time there's been any attempt to make things that are dangerous to people illegal in the US, half the country has a hissy fit and insists that they should have the right to do anything and everything they please, no matter how sensible it is to just stop doing the dangerous thing.

Re:Make it illegal (4, Interesting)

rockout (1039072) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567673)

I actually think this approach might be a reasonable compromise - and smoking pot should be legalized too, but if you want to smoke pot and get certain jobs, you can't. In other words, you're free to do whatever the hell you please in your home as long as it doesn't affect anyone else's well-being or their insurance premiums. Tough to make such an approach consistent, of course, but we may be heading in that direction when you look at all the US states that have made marijuana quasi-legal already.

Re:Make it illegal (5, Insightful)

hazah (807503) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567719)

It's not about a right to do anything and everything you please, it's about the lack of the rights of others to stop you.

Re:Make it illegal (1)

YukariHirai (2674609) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567731)

I'm having trouble seeing the distinction, in practical terms.

Re:Make it illegal (5, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567799)

I'm having trouble seeing the distinction, in practical terms.

Simple enough, actually. Take, for instance, abortion. If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one. DON'T try to get legislation banning abortion passed to keep everybody from having an abortion just because you don't like it for reasons I'm sure you have every right to have. In the same way, don't tell me I can't have a cigarette in my own home or car when I'm all by myself. It's my choice. I'm aware of the consequences and I choose to live with them.

Re:Make it illegal (3, Insightful)

rockout (1039072) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567749)

If smoking is so great and such a valuable right that others shouldn't be able to stop you doing it whenever and wherever you please, why do cigarette companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year just to keep convincing people they need to keep doing it?

Re:Make it illegal (5, Interesting)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567771)

If smoking is so great and such a valuable right that others shouldn't be able to stop you doing it whenever and wherever you please, why do cigarette companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year just to keep convincing people they need to keep doing it?

They don't. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year to try to get people to start smoking (or re-start as the case may be). Current smokers basically ignore most cigarette advertising as the vast majority will stick to one brand once they're accustomed to it.

I smoked for over half of my life; and just quit two weeks ago. Cigarette advertising was something that I hardly noticed before - now I see it everywhere.

Re:Make it illegal (5, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567811)

Prohibition was a nightmare for the country and repealed for a reason. People have pleasure needs. Maybe you like to watch 14 hours straight of Zoey 101. Others like beer. Others like smokes. Others like fatty food. I even once knew a guy who's thing was hanging from the ceiling by rings pierced into his back.

I think the biggest point to be made here however, is "what is bad for you" is subjective, and once you let someones opinion dictate your life, life may stop being worth living.

Re:Make it illegal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567617)

Why not just make smoking illegal? The policy seams to be that it is bad and that should not do it, so maybe it should be enforced.

Do you remember how well prohibition worked?

Re:Make it illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567743)

News Flash! Prohibition was revived by Nixon. See the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

Re:Make it illegal (4, Insightful)

theNetImp (190602) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567625)

I'm asthmatic. The smell of cigarettes makes me want to hack out a lung. But....

As long as what a person does does not hinder my personal space or health I don't see a need to make smoking illegal. I am tired of Mr Man making everything someone does illegal or more restrictive. If someone wants to smoke a pack at home let them. Make it against the rules to smoke on work time. Make them eligible to lose their job if they smoke from the time they walk in the door until the time they walk out the door. Don't take away their freedom to do something they enjoy.

Re:Make it illegal (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567681)

If someone wants to smoke a pack at home let them. Make it against the rules to smoke on work time. Make them eligible to lose their job if they smoke from the time they walk in the door until the time they walk out the door.

What about smokeless tobacco products?
Or coffee for that matter?

Re:Make it illegal (4, Interesting)

ryanw (131814) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567827)

Don't take away their freedom to do something they enjoy.

I don't know if anybody "enjoys" smoking. They probably enjoyed it the first year or two when it was cool to hang out with the friends and feel cool "smoking", but nobody enjoys smelling like that all day long, or having their breath stink, or have your body take the toll it goes through from smoking. It's something that starts out socially, and then slowly but surely becomes incorporated into their daily living experience as a vice.

Someone needs to come up with some new "cool" way for people who hardly know each other can hang out and feel part something that doesn't involved sex, drugs, alcohol or smoking something. Smoking is a gateway to feel like you have friends. If you ask a stranger for a bite of a hamburger or a couple french fries they're going to think you're insane, ask for a light or a cigarette and they'll put down whatever they're doing and reach in their pocket and gladly help you out.

Same thing goes with the workforce. If you want to feel immediately cool, follow the group of people down to the smoking section and immediately there's a group of people who welcome you in to make you feel like you have a group of people to hang out with and talk to. Plus who can argue with going outside and talking with people all day long? It seems like smokers get the free-pass to leave their desk anytime they feel like it, and they have a good excuse.

With the high-school social desires of teens and interoffice acceptance of smoking it makes for tough competitor to "nothing".

Instead of putting all this money towards increased anti-smoking campaigns, all they would need to do is funnel a little bit of money into some sort of "social spots" that have gum, some candy, soda, water, nice chairs, and a place where it's accepted to hang out and talk for a few minutes and move on. This would give people the gratification they want to go into an area and hang out for a few minutes, talk, and go back to work. I think the problem with this idea is that there's no acceptable "need" to go down there every few hours. People might look at you as a slacker hanging down there, whereas the smoker doesn't get deemed a slacker for "going for a smoke"..

Re:Make it illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567897)

Due to the health implications of over indulgence in sugar, we'll need to ban "gum, some candy, soda" consuming groups as well. It may seem silly to you, but telling people they can't smoke outdoors seems absurd to me, and I'm not a smoker. You know what bothers me, car emissions, let's ban trucks and cars from driving in downtown areas because, quite frankly, it's rude of them to put my health at risk so that they can drive around.

Re:Make it illegal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567847)

So you are fine with making the children suffer, instead?
You're horrible. That is the number one reason people still do that crap, parents doing it rubs off them too easily.

Re:Make it illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567661)

Isn't it already? Oh, you're talking about tobacco.

Re:Make it illegal (4, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567675)

I think the idea is that the employer wants cheaper health insurance. I wonder how many of the smokers never voted against politicians who made the war on drugs, and particularly drug testing in the workplace, part of their campaign platform.

Unfortunately, what could happen here is that the employee continues to smoke, but signs the affidavit, qualifying for the lower insurance rate, and then gets dropped and fired as soon as an encounter with the health care system reveals the lie. In this situation, the employer is happy, because insurance rates are low, and the employee gets screwed.

Martin Niemöller mode (2)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567745)

I wonder how many of the smokers never voted against politicians who made the war on drugs, and particularly drug testing in the workplace, part of their campaign platform.

First they came for the coke fiends, but I didn't speak out because....

you know how it goes.

Re:Make it illegal (2)

BadgerRush (2648589) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567759)

This policy went too far, the cost to personal freedoms is too great to be justified.

Having said that, I can understand the rationale behind it. I wouldn't like to hire a smoker (even one who smoked only after hours) the same way I wouldn't like to hire an alcoholic (I mean a non recovery one). Hiring any addict has costs, he will always have times where the only thing he can think is “where is my next fix”.

Re:Make it illegal (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567877)

I agree, you cannot just start having employers start doing this. Make it illegal or make it illegal to hire/fire based on it.

Re:Make it illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567887)

Making it illegal would be a GREAT way to send even more money and power into the hands of criminals. The black market loves you!

I will also point out that Americans HATE freedom (when their neighbors have it, that is). It is absolutely true that having employees that use tobacco poses a financial risk to the company as a whole, and therefore employers have a direct incentive to take that right away from you.

Noble sentiments like "I disagree with what you are doing but will fight to the death to protect your right to do it" all fall by the wayside once what you are doing has some kind of negative impact on me (however slight).

First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567581)

I am bored today, so I will get first post all day long.

Have you seen the tobacco packaging in Australia? (3, Interesting)

another random user (2645241) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567587)

Tobacco products complying with the world’s first plain-packaging laws started arriving in Australia’s stores around Oct. 1. [businessweek.com]

New government standards set out the images and health warnings that must cover 75 percent of the front of cigarette packs. Among them: a gangrenous foot, a tongue cancer, a toilet stained with bloody urine, and a skeletal man named Bryan who is dying of lung cancer. Further warnings must appear on the sides and cover 90 percent of the back.

The High Court of Australia in August dismissed a claim by British American Tobacco (BTI), Philip Morris (MO), Imperial Tobacco, and Japan Tobacco International that the law illegally seizes their intellectual property by banning the display of trademarks. Appeals have also been lodged by Honduras, Ukraine, and the Dominican Republic at the World Trade Organization, claiming the law restricts the tobacco trade.

Cigarette makers are right to fear the regulations, says David Hammond, an expert in tobacco rules at the University of Waterloo in Canada: “Once tobacco control measures are established in one country, they spread.”

Re:Have you seen the tobacco packaging in Australi (3, Interesting)

orasio (188021) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567725)

Here in Uruguay, we've had that for a couple of years, I think. A quick google images search of "uruguay paquetes de cigarrillos" will show you what that will look like (only the ones in Spanish are Uruguayan: www.google.com/search?q=uruguay paquetes de cigarrillos&tbm=isch).

They say that, in conjunction with a broad prohibition of smoking everywhere inside, it's working very well, esp. with young people

Re:Have you seen the tobacco packaging in Australi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567767)

Think the australian one is a bit different as they can't even use their own logos or colors etc - the ones on the google link you gave do have the images on them, but also still have the company logo. a lot of packaging does now have warnings and stuff on them ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_packaging_warning_messages [wikipedia.org] ) but i think they are saying that the australian one is the first to ban any form of branding.

Re:Have you seen the tobacco packaging in Australi (2, Informative)

orasio (188021) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567881)

You are right. They let them keep their logos, the only prohibition on brands is that they can't have "modifiers" like a Light version and stuff, they need to sell each version with a new brand name. Of course, they can't advertise on tv, on the streets, and inside the shops all signs also have the ugly images.

They were talking on tv last week about a decrease of more than half of teenage smokers. When al this started I thought it was nonsense, but it's funny how it works. Smokers tend to hide their boxes, because they are unpleasant, and they don't keep them in sight of kids. They even tend to smoke more privately. It should come naturally, without the offensive images, but they seem to work.

Where will it end? (5, Interesting)

Nightwraith (180411) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567597)

Now Tobacco/Nicotine, soon to come:
Meat eaters need not apply, only strict vegetarians. The risk of eating high fat dietary items carries a higher risk of medical issues.

Re:Where will it end? (0, Flamebait)

rockout (1039072) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567641)

Wow, it took 7 whole minutes for a fallacious slippery-slope comment to appear. It used to take a lot less; you must be slipping.

Re:Where will it end? (5, Funny)

yotto (590067) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567861)

If this keeps up, soon NOBODY will make slippery-slope posts!

Re:Where will it end? (1)

YukariHirai (2674609) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567667)

There is a massive difference between health effects associated with smoking, and having an omnivorous diet.

Re:Where will it end? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567783)

As someone who smokes 2-3 cigars per month, works out religiously, yet couldn't get hired thanks to these ridiculous laws, I say you're wrong. Not all tobacco users are black-lunged smokers destined for the oxygen tank, just as not all people who eat are great big fatasses.

GPs parallel is right on target.

Re:Where will it end? (1)

Bongo (13261) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567705)

Fat? Except maybe it doesn't -- they may have got it wrong 50 years ago and it'll take another 20 for received wisdom to be revised. Turns out maybe it wasn't the fat but the carbs (at the time the politicians wanted one answer quick, even if there wasn't enough evidence). There's a hypothesis that the obesity epidemic has been caused by that mistake 50 years ago. But keep eating all those "healthy" carbs, diabetics. Sweden seems a bit ahead on this one.

Re:Where will it end? (4, Insightful)

shadowrat (1069614) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567889)

Turns out that maybe it isn't the carbs either, but the fact that people won't get off their asses and burn the fuel they are taking in.

There is smoking and there is addiction (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567599)

For some strange reason, nicotine addiction is viewed in society as acceptable. If someone would stop working every few hours and go out for a drink they would be called an alcoholic and fired quickly. Yet when others take 'smoke breaks' with the same frequency noone seems to care. It's not a problem when you smoke every now and then (at least it's not my problem), but if you can't survive without nicotine for 8 hours that's a serious addiction.

I'm addicted to coffee (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567735)

Well I'm addicted to caffeine, my nephew is addicted to world of warcraft. My dad's addicted to hard work, he can't relax.

I think you've just heard 'addicted to crack' so often that you're putting too much weight on the word 'addicted'. Nicotine addition isn't a big problem to society, it's the *tar* that's the big problem in cigarettes. The nicotine is just a problem in that it makes them smoke and smoking is bad m-kay.

Coffee addition IS acceptable, not just VIEWED AS. There's nothing wrong with needing a coffee, even less than 8 hours.

I bet you're not so perfect that someone doesn't need to cut YOU some slack.

Re:INTERVENTION FOR smoking and there is addiction (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567779)

''if you can't survive without nicotine for 8 hours that's a serious addiction.''

I have noticed you, friend, leaving your cubicle frequently to urinate. Sometimes you even stop in the hallways and greet others, as if to compound this waste of valuable productive time. But then you have been observed stopping yet again -- for a big long gulp of water. Clearly this is an abusive cycle and you know that ingestion of water leads directly to urination, it's a fact.

If you'd just sip a cup of water at your desk, no more than your body needs, you could easily make the 8 hours without wasting the company's time.

Don't you think it's time you got some help??

Re:There is smoking and there is addiction (2)

Burdell (228580) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567789)

"stop working every few hours" would be a welcome improvement; there are people at my office that smoke at least 5 minutes out of every hour. They stink up the office, sometimes blocking the door open because, while they are able to carry a pack, lighter, and cell phone, they can't carry keys. They litter (even though there's a butt-receptacle), and I can't open my office window because of the smoke.

Smoking cigarettes is a filthy addiction, and not just because of the health issues. If I went and rolled in a pile of crap for a few minutes every hour or two and then came and stood in your office, you'd have me thrown out, but somehow smokers are "special".

Re:There is smoking and there is addiction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567821)

I don't smoke, but I do take "smoke breaks". Nothing wrong with stretching your legs and relaxing the brain for a bit.

I hate smoke as much as the next (non-smoking) guy. I'm all for smoking bans in public places and even parks (like they do in Hong Kong.) However, for you or me to tell someone else that they can't smoke goes way beyond protecting ourselves and society. It needlessly interferes with people's private lives. As long as they smoke without harming others, then why care? Same for the smoke breaks, if it doesn't affect their productivity then why does it matter? What's next? Telling people to eat different food so they spend less time shitting during office hours?

Re:There is smoking and there is addiction (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567869)

. . . and then there is Slashdot addiction. Can you survive for 8 hours without reading Slashdot when you are awake?

Do you:

  1. Think you really need some Slashdot?
  2. Plan in advance how you will get some Slashdot?
  3. Commit crimes to get some Slashdot?

I thought so. J'accuse y'all of being Slashdot addicts!

What a Load of Bullcrap! (4, Interesting)

dryriver (1010635) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567603)

I couldn't stand the highly technical coding I do for a job without my periodic "Cigarette Break". Every couple of hours I go outside into fresh air, light up a cig, see some daylight, and let my mind relax for a moment, to recharge for another 2 hour bout of the highly quantitative stuff I do. Nobody should be hired/fired or not based on whether they smoke cigarettes. ------ Yes, cigarettes are not good for you in the long run. But it isn't anybody's business what you do or don't do with your own body. ---- It is idiotic how harshly non-smokers try to wean smokers off cigarettes. Tobacco products are not illegal. Nobody has a right to tell me that I can't smoke if I want to "keep my job".

Re:What a Load of Bullcrap! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567639)

I go outside into fresh air, light up a cig

doesn't the second part of that kind of make the first part a bit pointless

Re:What a Load of Bullcrap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567679)

Smokers need smoke breaks - it is not just you in your 'highly technical coding job'. Again a lot of people do the very same tasks (including your highly technical coding) without smoke breaks. So compared to the average coder, you are handicapped by your need. Unfortunately your handicap also affects others in numerous ways. (increase in cost of insurance is just one of them).

While I agree that whether you smoke or not is your personal matter, I think it is like free speech. You have the right to free speech, and companies have the right to hire or not hire you (or fire you).

But yes, banning smoking or making smokers ineligible for jobs is pushing the envelope in the wrong direction.

Re:What a Load of Bullcrap! (2)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567769)

Smokers need smoke breaks - it is not just you in your 'highly technical coding job'. Again a lot of people do the very same tasks (including your highly technical coding) without smoke breaks. So compared to the average coder, you are handicapped by your need.

You could say the same about women and tea drinkers, who average more frequent bathroom breaks.

A snuff or patch user won't need any breaks due to their habit. Yet they are caught in this dragnet too.

Re:What a Load of Bullcrap! (3, Insightful)

YukariHirai (2674609) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567693)

Having a short break every so often to give your brain a chance to recuperate is certainly a good thing, but sucking on a cancer stick while doing so is not mandatory.

Re:What a Load of Bullcrap! (1)

greenreaper (205818) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567713)

Well, actually, they do if they're the ones giving you the job. If you are so addicted to cigarettes that you can't go for two hours without them, that's a problem, and they might well do better getting someone who can function without them.

Re:What a Load of Bullcrap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567895)

Seriously my attitude to you and any employee I've ever had was so what and fire me.

I do not dress fancy but I work somewhere that people do, I always interview in my hat and everyday clothes. Do not want to hire me don't.
I smoke, sometimes way to much but I get more done even when I'm smoking than anyone else in the office.
Hell I do drugs, I've been caught once or twice puffing the magic dragon while working, don't like it fire me.

If you want to be a saint and follow all the rules by all means you do so.
If you want to look down on smokers then by all means you do so.

You however are a pretty narrowly experienced and minded person if you think that smoking, functioning and performance have any direct relationship in the work place other than people who waste time will always waste time.

How about the people who spend all day long walking around and socializing? What about people who only show up to work for lunch?

I've been smoking a long time and at a lot of companies, trust me the smokers are usually the ones having the important meetings outside, I know because i've converted a few coworkers into smokers based just on the fact they felt they were missing out on important discussions.

Re:What a Load of Bullcrap! (1)

DarkTempes (822722) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567773)

A) Second-hand smoke hurts other people, not just you. How far from your workplace doorway do you stand when you smoke, hmm?

B) The damage you do to your body with those cigarettes costs other people (people who use health services), your employer (if they subsidize your health insurance), and your doctor time and money that wouldn't have to spend if not for your selfish decision.

C) Is your job allowed to tell you that they won't hire heroin addicts? Are they allowed to fire alcoholics who are drunk at work?

To some degree I agree. If you were using a nicotine vaporizer or something and it didn't impact your work then it is not another person's business.
Likewise if you only smoked at home, had a clause in your insurance that said they wouldn't cover you for smoking-related illness (but covered rehab), and doctors were allowed to just let you die so they could spend their precious time elsewhere then it wouldn't be anyone else's business either.

In practice it's probably dumb to just outright fire smokers, it would make more sense to pay for part of their rehab and make it a requirement to continue working.
And of course they'll likely need something else to help relieve stress.

You're an addict. You need help. I hope that one day you do yourself and your loved ones a service and get help for it.

Re:What a Load of Bullcrap! (0)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567873)

Second hand smoke is a crock of shit except in enclosed spaces, bars, etc.

Re:What a Load of Bullcrap! (2)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567885)

A) This is covered in most places I know of. There is either a designated smoking area or a rule about smoking within a certain number of feet of any doorway. Many cities have laws covering their buildings for the latter.

B) Pass the increased insurance premiums and other costs directly off to the individual.

C) Invalid argument. Drunk or high at work impairs your performance, possibly dangerously so. Having a smoke doesn't.

yes it is their business... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567815)

...especially if they're paying for your health insurance. As you admit, smoking is not good in the long run and you're probably not feeling the effects of cumulative smoking. But for others, I'd never employ someone who's much older - meaning, this individual has been smoking for decades. So this person whom I'm hiring will most likely request more sick days and more frequent medical bills.

However, if you're a contractor or freelancer, I don't care what you do with your health. I don't care if you're 500lbs and can't fit through the door (tele-commute).

Re:What a Load of Bullcrap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567819)

"Every couple of hours I go outside into fresh air, light up a cig"

That's pretty funny

Re:What a Load of Bullcrap! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567863)

I do highly technical coding. I hate even the faintest whiff of smoke, which throws me into coughing spasms.
Don't deceive yourself that you are so special/necessary/clever/genius/exceptional that you self-justify your physiological addiction.
Your work and your innate talents have no connection to your problems. Work yourself out and become a better person instead of making excuses for yourself.

Re:What a Load of Bullcrap! (1)

Mortimer82 (746766) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567883)

You've really answered your own questions.

The fact that you needlessly made yourself addicted to cigarettes is entirely your own doing, many people are highly effective at complicated/stressful/tedious jobs without the need to smoke. Smokers almost always take more breaks than employees who don't smoke and if they don't take regular smoke breaks, then their productivity suffers until they get their "fix". Why should an equally qualified and experienced smoker who spends less time being productive due to their habit get paid the same as me?

It really makes perfect sense to discourage smoking as it ultimately reduces economic output.

As for the story summary, times have moved on since the time of those particular people, humanity now knows better. The world would be a better place if smoking became unacceptable and the newer generations didn't get as easily addicted to the expensive and harmful substance.

This is of course all besides the fact that smoking is an expensive, unhealthy and above all, highly disgusting and typically inconsiderate habit. To me, walking past someone who is smoking is about as pleasant as walking past someone urinating against a wall.

Nicotine isn't the problem (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567605)

Or at least not the cancer causing problem. The tarry tobacco smoke builds up inside your lungs and prevents them from cleaning themselves properly. While nicotine does have circulatory implications its not transmissable by touch as far as I'm aware. Applying tests typical for contraband narcotics is not justifiable unless nicotine use is ruled as a hazard or detrimental to productivity or health and safety.

Fark has a section dedicated to Florida for a reason I guess.

Re:Nicotine isn't the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567655)

How does that explain mouth cancer from "smokeless" tobacco? Cannabis smoke leaves behind a tarry resin but it doesn't cause cancer.

Re:Nicotine isn't the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567733)

chew is fermented and that causes the issue 1 out of 60k snus is 1 out of 400k will have issues snus is coated in salt killing the baddies nicotine doesnt cause anything far as i know byproducts from tobaco does

Re:Nicotine isn't the problem (-1, Flamebait)

vurian (645456) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567739)

"Cannabis smoke leaves behind a tarry resin but it doesn't cause cancer." It does, and a lot quicker than tobacco smoke, too.

"to save on health insurance" (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567611)

that's the real reason from the article.
so next up, banning for anything else that kicks up the insurance a notch.

had a heart attack? don't apply. high risk sports? forget about it. maybe they should have instead asked for the employee to pony up the extras for the health insurance.

Re:"to save on health insurance" (2)

Bigbutt (65939) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567817)

Yea, work here is doing that too. We had an open window of time to certify that we were tobacco free so we can save $80 a year (or something) off our insurance. Plus we had to tell the insurance company within 10 days if we smoked after we certified.

And work requires you to walk all the way off property to smoke. So smokers have a little hike to get to the other side of the parking lot to take a smoke break and you're not allowed to sit in your car and smoke while in the work parking lot. You have to get off property. Must be nice to get all the fresh air on the way out and back :)

[John]

Slippery slope (4, Insightful)

hessian (467078) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567619)

If the rest of us are going to pay for their health care through insurance, we deserve the right to shut them off from their carcinogenic cigarettes.

There is a bit of a slippery slope here. If diet soft drinks cause cancer, we should have the right to shut those off, too. At some point, we're going to find certain genes are responsible for susceptibility to cancer too (well beyond the 17% of smokers who get lung cancer [decodeme.com] ). We should have the right to shut them out, too.

Right?

Re:Slippery slope (2)

scotts13 (1371443) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567695)

Seems to me there was already a movie (Gattica) about that. Any gambler will take every chance possible to reduce his risk. Insurance of ANY kind is gambling; in this case, you're gambling you'll get sick, the insurance company (and, by proxy, the employer) is gambling you won't. Taken to its logical conclusion, only genetically-perfect, clean-living supermen will be employable.

Question is, how far will we allow it to go?

the mitt romney plan is in some ways like hitler d (-1, Troll)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567797)

the mitt romney plan is in some ways like hitler did where all the sick people will end up with out being able to get health care out side of the ER (up till that law is taken away) or lockup where by the us constitution law cruel and unusual punishment they must give you health care.

That's the point: this is back-door eugenics (2)

hessian (467078) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567851)

Taken to its logical conclusion, only genetically-perfect, clean-living supermen will be employable.

This is what slippery slopes arguments do best: show us the ultimate conclusion of our present path.

However, I'm not sure we'll even get to such a healthy place. If we're going to go Nietzschean, and implement an uebermensch, humanity will be better for it!

But instead we're going to penalize anyone who does anything other than conform, and claim it's progress.

Compared to what we will do, Aktion T4 [wikipedia.org] and The Eugenics Movement [eugenics.net] are at least whole plans.

We'll just chip away at "negatives" until we're left with the Nietzschean last man, who lives to work, consume and die with no greater depth of thought than Honey Boo-Boo.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567845)

Smokers get put into a different risk pool than non-smokers - so you're not paying for their insurance . . .

. . . unless you're referring to government health care. In which case maybe you shouldn't be paying for their insurance . . .

. . . by not accepting government health care. This is one of the many reasons why government health care is inappropriate.

Re:Slippery slope (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567875)

If the rest of us are going to pay for their health care through insurance

You have missed the whole point of insurance, which is a gamble where most people lose a little, but are covered in case they need a lot.

That's okay, the insurance companies miss this pesky little fact too, and as they strive to approach better accuracy in risk prediction, they forget that as accuracy approaches unity, everyone approach paying what their own future costs would be, plus the overhead of the insurance company. In other words, we would be better off without insurance.

WTF is wrong with you ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567621)

have they changed so much that we'd now postpone the Manhattan project for 12 months because Oppenheimer had toked his pipe? ...

Many things have been allowed or tolerated in distant or recent pasts that are now forbidden. It doesn't stop history.

Smoking was hype at the time, so Oppenheimer was smoking. Smoking is disgusting nowadays, maybe Oppenheimer would never have started smoking in the first place.

If pigs could fly...

This is bad. (5, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567623)

I don't like cigarettes; in fact, I despise them.

But what the hell? Why should we be telling people what they can do in their own lives outside working hours? Especially when such activities are legal?

What's next? NO ALCOHOL USE EITHER! Can't even go out to the bar with friends on a weekend because you might lose your job?

Riding a motorcycle is risky to your health as well. CAN'T DO THAT EITHER.

This is one HELL of a slippery slope and we should all be greatly concerned about it.

We need more global warming (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567645)

This is just ridiculous. We need federal laws specifying that an employer has no right to dictate or ask what employees does when they're not working.
If they want control over workers 24/7 and need to control their future health, it isn't called employment, but something else, which already is illegal.

If I want to spend my time off doing things people don't like, that shouldn't be anyone's business but mine. Whether it's smoking, skydiving, wild orgies, satanic rituals, or all of that at the same time.

Re:We need more global warming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567795)

"PULL THE CORD!" "I'm pulling the cord!" "That's my penis!" "I can't find the cord!"

Alcohol, saturated fats, high fructose corn syrup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567647)

Why not prohibit them too? they are just as bad if not not worse on one's health and cause the same burden on the health system

Smoking ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567649)

I personally have been impacted with this. My son was born 3 months early and was in the NICU for the duration of the 3 months to stabilize his breathing and other things. During that time frame he was receiving care from the nurses directly. The nurses mentioned to us that we shouldn't have any family members near the child who smoked or hold him with smoke on the clothing.... There were times when I would walk in the room and it would wreak of smoke, and low and behold it was the nurse who just came off smoke break.

I don't know if I necessarily agree that someone should be fired for using a nicotine patch or gum, but these are scenarios that are absolutely necessary that should enforce a no smoking policy for employees. Just hire the people who don't smoke.

Insurance costs (0)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567659)

They're doing it to save on insurance costs. The sad part is, a lot of people will support the idea, but they don't consider that it's a very short slide down the slippery slope to not hiring obese people, or people with a chronic disease like diabetes, etc. That way lies madness.

Good. Ban it too. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567663)

Then legalize other drugs that are not harmful in doses that still give a better result than stupid cancerous crap like that.
Note that I mean things taken, not smoked. Smoking is cancerous, period. Burning of pretty much anything organic is.

I don't take anything just to point that out. But I certainly know damn well that there are drugs out there that don't do any damage in sensible dosages and still give some result in the end. (feeling good, painless, creative, whatever the hell you want)

Pain killers are already abused. You think it is going to make a damn difference that these would be? THEY ALREADY ARE WITH THE LAWS.
At least this abuse would be LESS damaging than the damn street drugs that are mixed with DIRT and BRICK DUST and CLEANING AGENTS.

Even ecstasy is now being looked at again after all those retards using street drugs as a reason to ban them were pushed aside.
Street drugs != pure drugs. At all.

Legalization of drugs has already been proven to cut down abuse various times in various countries and cities. Only a moron would question it.
So, I am completely behind this. Ban actually dangerous drugs, legalize the others that give something more productive and not damaging in sensible doses.
No, banning it in public doesn't work. What it does is just hurt children more because they are being infected by their disease. And in turn causes more children to take up that crap.
Outright ban for blatantly damaging activity.

Only a bad economy makes this possible. (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567689)

If this was the late 90's, HR would say "Smoking ban? You kiddin'? We got bowls of free smokes in the commissary, right next to the foosball table! Help yourself!"

.

Honest boss .... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567691)

...its not tobacco, its B.C. Bud. I take it to treat the nicotine withdrawl symptoms.

Totally Flawed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567699)

I was a smoker for 25 years, and quit just short of 3 years ago. I moved to the electronic cigarette. My respiratory function, blood pressure, and general health couldn't be better. There are risks in using nicotine, however, the nicotine is not the dangerous part of the cigarette. All the cancers, emphysema, heart attacks and so on are from all the carcinogens and chemicals in the tobacco.

I can see the point of wanting to hire a non-smoker. But, I don't take the same risks as a smoker does. My health is not that of a smoker anymore. I don't ingest the same chemicals as a smoker does, and I have reduced my risk of receiving cancer greatly. I don't inhale tobacco smoke...ever. So now I would be at risk of getting canned because I use nicotine? Probably in the safest form possible? Bloody nonsense.

Chocolate cake is dangerous too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567703)

So the government can discriminate against people who participate in legal but unhealthy activities? So no more hiring people who drink alcohol soda or coffee, people who don't exercise enough, and people who participate in contact sports.

Re:Chocolate cake is dangerous too. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567747)

So the government can discriminate against people who participate in legal but unhealthy activities? So no more hiring people who drink alcohol soda or coffee, people who don't exercise enough, and people who participate in contact sports.

well.. that they will do it doesn't necessarily mean that they can. so wait for the first case of someone getting fired because they smoked a cigarette on their holiday.

Suck it, smokers! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567707)

Haha! Now you have to choose whether to continue your filthy, digusting, annoying and unhealthy habit or be unemployed. You fatties are next!

Caffeine anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567721)

Support the rights of your fellow human beings, please.

Big government (1)

verifine (685231) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567755)

The bigger government gets the fewer our liberties become. I despise tobacco in any form, but overarching government is infinitely worse. Government itself does have a quandary, on the one hand it makes huge sums from taxes on tobacco products, on the other hand the urge to control EVERYTHING is irresistible. Not that I'm expressing sympathy for government.

Anyone who thinks it's a good idea, please stop to consider that if government gains control in this situation, it's not going to stop. Sooner or later they'll come after each of us and exert increasing control over every aspect of life.

No, I'm not paranoid; they really are after all of us.

.

We need to remove health care from most* jobs (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567763)

We need to remove health care from most* jobs.

*Ok some high risk jobs can have there own add on plans (not basic health care)

yep, it's stupid (5, Insightful)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567765)

I'm an ardent anti-smoker but that doesn't lead me to support idiotic employment rules. The overall problem of health care (and guess what: I support single-payer) really should be none of a company's business. So long as the employee gets his work done, is reliable, and doesn't adversely affect his cow-orkers, what he does off the clock is his business. I have no problem with a company banning tobacco use on company property&time (or banning alcohol; and I wish they'd ban cube radios playing country music too), but testing employees for off-work use of either legal or controlled substances should be flat out illegal.

What a lot of crap (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567777)

Let me open by saying that I am one of those asshole sanctimonious ex-smokers who is now in favor of banning public smoking. Allow me to moderate it by saying that I believe there should be public spaces, including those with alcohol, which permit smoking, provided they demonstrate a serious effort to prevent smoke levels from being any higher than necessary. But your employer should never be able to fire you for consuming anything or using any substance which it is legal to consume, period, the end. As long as we consider labor law to be a legitimate concept, law should be the only standard upon which you should be able to be fired for what you choose to put into your body.

I smoked for years, now I don't, and now it pretty well disgusts me. As well, the people who feel a need to stand where other people will have to walk past them while they smoke disgust me. Logically extended, any vehicle with higher-than-zero emissions should be put to death, but hopefully that's coming and frankly I'd be glad to see cars go provided we got working public transportation, let alone the infernal combustion engine. In a city it's difficult to find a place to smoke where no one else will have to breathe in what you're breathing out, but nobody else has a good excuse. Addiction just doesn't cut it as an excuse, though it works as an explanation for inexcusable behavior.

At the same time I think the CAL-OSHA argument that people are forced to work in smoky places of employment by economic circumstances is bullshit. Smokers need jobs too. If they're not going to be able to work in hospitals, they'd better at least have bars to take refuge in.

Whether or not laws about substances are even valid, the law ought to be the only arbiter of whether your employer can fire you for consuming them, since the law is your protection from abuse by your employer in the first place. I know "there oughta be a law" are the five (wink) scariest words ever heard but shouldn't people be protected from the prejudices of their employers? Because while we may not have to take a particular job, most of us ultimately do need a job even if we own property and have very low expectations, just to pay fees and taxes.

Makes Sense to Me... (1)

Rob_Ogilvie (872621) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567781)

You wouldn't hire somebody who was actively trying to slit their wrists... Tobacco users are actively making a choice to do something that is unquestionably unhealthy. By excluding such a population from your bargaining unit, you've likely significantly lowered your insurance premiums. This saves both employees and employer money and leads to more governmental efficiency in a time when revenues in state and local governments are definitely hurting. Ban smokers or lay off a cop?

Re:Makes Sense to Me... (1)

mbone (558574) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567839)

Definitely lay off the cop. There are way too many police in this country.

First they came for the pot heads... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567787)

Funny how employee drug testing is all well and good until they come after your own personal vice.

Discrimination (4, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567801)

So, It's illegal to refuse to hire somebody because of sexual orientation,skin color, country or origin,religion, and a bunch of other stuff. But it's ok to discriminate based on after-hours smoke-inhaling? The world is fucking stupid.

Don't get me wrong, I believe any business should be allowed to hire whoever the fuck they want,and discriminate based on anything, even race and other protected characteristics. If you don't wanna hire black people, smokers, or homosexuals, it's up to you. I refuse to hire religious idiots, and it's my fucking right too.

But the government belongs to EVERYBODY, so the government CAN'T engage in such discriminatory activities. And they can't promote it. Blacks, Jews and Woman have acquired equal rights, and are rarely discriminated anymore. Homosexuals are towards that goal. Right now, the single most attacked and discriminated group are smokers. Marijuana users aren't as discriminated against as tobacco smokers. WTF

Bans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567805)

A better idea is to ban government. Governments kill the most peoples.

Fascists never sleep. (4, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567823)

This is what decent people get for putting up with drug tests.
How hard is it to understand that fascists will never stop taking more?

Every single person who was against a smoking ban (-1)

yotto (590067) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567825)

Every single person who was against a smoking ban for their state or the country, should think that businesses (though possibly not the Government) doing this is perfectly fine. It's all about free choice and these businesses are just doing whatever the hell they want which is great.

As a non-smoker who voted for the ban in my state, I think this is disturbing and there should be regulations keeping companies from caring what I do in my spare time.

As an intelligent slashdot reader, I instantly saw the problem with all of the examples in the summary. Back when we were trying to figure out how to blow up Japanese schoolchildren en-masse, smoking was not known to be as detrimental as it is today. Same goes for all the rest of them.

Dear God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41567833)

As I've aged I've become more cynical and even something of a misanthrope, I really didn't think much could surprise me any more so congratulations, Delray Beach, for a level of douchbaggery I hadn't thought possible.

The land of the free. Indeed.

But hiring African Americans is legal? (0, Flamebait)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567835)

Yes, hiring African Americans is legal. And Muslim Americans. And Jewish Americans. And lesbian Americans. And gay Americans. And drinking Americans. And eating Americans. But, not smoking Americans?

Cigarettes would not be allowed to market nowadays (1)

tstrunk (2562139) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567837)

No institution would allow a product like cigarettes to enter the market nowadays.
They exist and they are tolerated, but were they invented nowadays, they'd never be legalized.

My life insurance... (1)

srussia (884021) | about a year and a half ago | (#41567865)

classifies me as a "non-smoker" because I smoke less than a pack a day.

Actuarial science trumps political correctness.
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