Is it time to say “goodbye” to smokers at work? Recently, the University of Pennsylvania’s Health System became the latest hospital to announce that it will no longer hire smokers! And while hospitals in at least 10 states have similar restrictions, a growing number of companies outside the health care industry have also stopped hiring smokers.
What do bosses have against smokers? According to the University of Pennsylvania’s Website, workers who smoke are less productive than non-smokers – because they’re always taking smoke breaks, and they’re more likely to call in sick. In fact, a new study shows that smokers cost companies at least $3,000 MORE a year for health care, compared to non-smokers. Plus, smokers are disruptive because many co-workers complain about the smell of smoke on employees’ clothing, or walking through a cloud of secondhand smoke, just outside the office building.
But as you might expect, a lot of people say smoker-hiring bans are unfair. Because if we stop hiring smokers, then where do we draw the line? Will companies stop hiring obese people because they eat too much? Or stop hiring people with tans, because they have a higher risk of skin cancer?
The thinking is that other people do lots of risky things that lead to higher health care costs – yet those other people still have jobs! That’s why some experts say a better solution would be to hire smokers, but then give them an incentive to join anti-smoking programs.
What do you think? Should more companies stop hiring smokers? Or should they focus more on our skills, instead of what we do in our free time?