smokers need not apply

All fired-up, or, just plain fired.

Today, the New York Times is reporting that more and more hospitals in the US are using a potential employee’s smoking status as a screening tool.  This is clearly bad news for unemployed smokers looking for work in the health industry.  While it infringes on private lifestyle decisions, it does become a public issue when it involves public money.  Some wonder whether these kinds of restrictions represent a growing encroachment of our work lives into our private lives, where dangerous hobbies such as motorcycle riding may be next on the chopping block.  My colleague from New Zealand was just telling me the other day that doctors working in her hospital were banned from mountain biking because of the potential for broken arms and legs.   Makes sense I guess; what good is a doctor that cannot perform exams or operate?

Hospitals need healthy doctors and nurses – they represent a large investment with caring responsibilies that extend beyond themselves.  I hope to see this policy taken forward in other countries.

1 Comment

Filed under policy, smoking, USA

One Response to smokers need not apply

  1. random

    Perhaps the most hypocritical justification of these policies is the argument given by charities who refuse to hire smokers. It goes something like “we don’t want healthy people to pay for the behaviour of unhealthy people.” Yet the sustainment of the charity as a whole is based on a government system which affords their charity freedom from paying taxes, while still using the services and infrastructure which are being paid for by other taxpayers. So, within their own organization they don’t want healthy people to have their health insurance payments go towards, say, the health care scheme of people who engage in risky health behaviour, but they are more than happy to have people who have no interest in supporting their charity have their tax money used to support their organization. Of course.. of course.

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