Poll
should a boss/company be able to fire you for being a cigarette smoker?
yes 6
no 15
Total Votes: 21
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should smoking be held against you in a job? 
Posted: 17 June 2008 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]
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we should all know the health risks of smoking since we’ve been told their bad for as long as i can remember.  but people still smoke.  i understand why employers would want to keep their employees from smoking, but i also do find it quite heavy handed.

Employers ponder tough tactics to halt smoking
Victoria Colliver, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Howard Weyers tried the “carrot” approach by giving his employees incentives and encouragement to quit smoking. But when that didn’t work, he resorted to the stick. A big stick.
Weyers, owner of a health care benefits administrator in Lansing, Mich., gave his 200 employees an ultimatum in 2004: Quit smoking in 15 months or lose your job. He refused to hire smokers. Ultimately, he extended his smoking ban to employees’ spouses and monitored compliance through mandatory random blood testing.
Weyers’ method, while effective, wouldn’t fly in California because the state has laws that prohibit employers from making hiring or firing decisions based on employee participation in a legal activity. But participants in a smoking cessation forum hosted Monday by the Commonwealth Club of California found the idea nonetheless intriguing.
“We’re talking about ending an epidemic. This is a global pandemic,” said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, likening Weyers’ approach to controlling an outbreak of disease.
About 45 million Americans, 4 million of whom live in California, smoke cigarettes despite more than three decades of public efforts to encourage people to quit.
California, on both the state and local levels, has been at the forefront of anti-smoking efforts with laws to ban smoking in public places. A law went into effect in January that prohibits drivers from smoking when children are in the car. Still, smoking costs the state an estimated $8.6 billion in direct medical costs and $7.3 billion in lost productivity a year, according to the California division of the American Cancer Society.
In addition to lost work hours, employers have a vested interest in getting their workforce to kick the habit, given that they pay a large portion of health care costs and are the main source of health insurance for more than half the population.
At Monday’s event, officials from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the third-largest purchaser of health care in the country, said they asked the three health insurers that provide coverage for the fund’s 1.2 million state and local employees to increase member participation in smoking cessation programs by 20 percent next year.
“We don’t want to know if there’s a cost associated with this. It’s in (the health plans’) best interest and ours to do this,” said CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco.
Safeway Inc. announced that its Pleasanton headquarters will become smoke- and tobacco-free as of July 1, with the ban extending to all regional offices in Canada and the United States as of Sept. 1. Safeway already requires nonunion employees who do not participate in smoking-cessation efforts to pay more for their health premiums and is in discussions to extend the policy to union workers.
Safeway prefers to influence its smokers through incentives rather than penalties, said Larree Renda, an executive vice president with the grocery chain. “Our focus right now has been one of being supportive and trying to help people quit smoking,” she said.
Renda took considerable heat from audience members because she works for a company that espouses healthy lifestyles but sells tobacco products. Renda said Safeway has no plans to quit selling tobacco because it does not dictate what legal products its customers should buy, and ceasing cigarette sales would put the company at a competitive disadvantage.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering a law that would ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products in the city’s drugstores.
Panel members had several suggestions for employers, such as providing benefits that cover smoking cessation programs, medications and counseling. A major hurdle to such efforts is the fact that employees change jobs frequently and typically have to change health benefits with each job.
California employers do not have to offer smoking cessation programs to employees. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a 2005 bill by former state Sen. Debra Ortiz, D-Sacramento, that would have required health insurers that cover prescriptions to include coverage for programs to help people quit smoking. The governor, a cigar smoker himself, supports increasing cigarette taxes.
On the federal level, Congress is considering a bill that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration greater authority to regulate tobacco products. The bill, which is endorsed by Philip Morris USA, is controversial in part because it bans all flavored cigarettes except menthol, which are particularly popular among African Americans.
Smoking by the numbers

-- About 23 percent of American adults and 28 percent of teens smoke.
-- An estimated 13.5 percent of Californians smoke, the second-lowest percentage of smokers in the country, behind Utah.
-- Smoking costs California taxpayers about $15 billion a year in medical costs, lost productivity and premature death.
-- 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit.
-- 10 percent of smokers living today suffer from a smoking-related illness.
-- For information about quitting, visit http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/tobacco. Californians can receive free telephone counseling and information by calling California Smokers’ Helpline at (800) 662-8887.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Surgeon General; State of California; American Cancer Society.
E-mail Victoria Colliver at .

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Posted: 17 June 2008 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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That’s a debateable issue.  If you are a health educator teaching against smoking, maybe?  Or if you smoke on the job.  Or if you reek so much the employer loses customers.  Seriously, I was shopping in Whole Foods one day and I nearly choked/barfed just by walking down an aisle by one of the employees restocking the shelves.  The entire aisle was like a toxic zone and I did not browse what I had intended to.  I didn’t know it was possible to reek so much while not smoking at the moment.  Also it just did not fit with the Whole Foods atmosphere.

What I would like to know is how well did the heavy-handed method work?  Did it affect the rate of quitting smoking in the employees?  If it’s effective that would be something.

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Posted: 17 June 2008 11:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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In washington, employees are presumed “at will,” which means you can be fired for any reason, as long as it’s not illegal (like discrimination).

as a boss, I should be able to lay down any rules for my employees; however, in this case, I think this employee should have been “grandfathered” in somehow (but highly encouraged to quit - i.e., not promoted unless quits / renew contract with new clause or not rehired—or that type of thing).  there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

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another day…

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Posted: 18 June 2008 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Is that what they call them now in the army?

Employees?

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Posted: 24 June 2008 09:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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if it’s within reason to force your employees to quit smoking which benefits the business(or job performance), then I don’t have a problem with it.

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Posted: 24 June 2008 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I signed a contract that prevents me talking shit about smoking and people who smoke or something.

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Posted: 24 June 2008 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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That’s what happens when you sign contracts with the Devil.

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Posted: 28 June 2008 07:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I think that people at work who are loud, annoying, petty, and obnoxious, there should be something held against these individuals.  =P Smoking, not so much.

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Posted: 28 June 2008 07:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I don’t care if people want to kill themselves as long as it doesn’t affect me.

What I want banned are fucking loud ass motorcycles (ie. Harleys) on the road. Hate that shit when I can’t drive with my window rolled down because they are so fricking loud.

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Posted: 29 June 2008 12:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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What else should be banned is emergency siren sounds from rap music. That sound should only be used for those vehicles when they are in siren mode.

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