The spread of companies not hiring smokers appears to be on the increase, and this raises several issues; those of human rights, those of discrimination, and the question of are these companies breaking the law?
Smoking per se is not illegal, smoking in public places may be banned, but can companies decide not to hire you because they essentially disagree with a habit of yours?
Several companies have been very clever – as they state they ‘choose’ not to hire a smoker, as this keeps insurance costs down, and workers are more productive, as they don’t take cigarette breaks. (There we have the true financial reasons).
But is smoking a habit, an addiction or a disease? And will a ‘definition’ make any difference? Lets go down the ‘disease’ road for this blog.
“Both tobacco dependence and such conditions as diabetes are similar in their potential to exacerbate other diseases, their behavioral components of treatment, and their effectiveness of medications. Despite these similarities, treatments for diabetes are well covered by insurance, whereas tobacco dependence treatments are often limited. Tobacco dependence should share the status of other chronic illnesses, with effective treatments given as long as is necessary to achieve successful clinical outcomes.” (Bolding mine)
WHO have stated that tobacco dependency is a disease, and the article above likens it to diabetes when regarding the potential for further damage to the body, and the authors suggest that tobacco dependency should share the status of other chronic illnesses.
Late onset diabetes can often be (not always) as a result of poor diet and obesity. This is a condition an overweight person may have done to themselves, in the full knowledge that overeating can end in morbid obesity and diabetes. Is the next step going to be non- hiring of people with diabetes? Which disease is acceptable to an employer and which isn’t?
Will it all be down to insurance costs? Remember both are disease according to the World Health Organisation. Can you also ‘choose’ not to employ someone with diabetes, or would that be breaking the law?
Two great articles below: