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At More U.S. Workplaces, Smokers Need Not Apply
Date:1/16/2012

anization more money for health care, it justifies not hiring people for other health reasons. "Why not not hire anyone over 50, or fat people, or people with diabetes?" he asked. He said research suggests there is also a link between smoking and lower education levels, so in theory, the policy also becomes an issue of class discrimination.

"It's also an invasion of privacy," Siegel said. "I think what someone does in the privacy of their own home is really no business of the employer. It's basically saying it's perfectly okay for an employer to delve into any aspect of your personal life they want to. Once they go down this road, why not ask about their sexual practices, how many partners do you have -- it starts getting ridiculous."

Temple's Satti said the key to really help smokers quit is to make programs and medications easily available to them. "Why not hire the person as long as they promise to do the program?" she said. "Instead of punishing them, give them additional reasons to help them quit smoking."

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn about tobacco-free workplaces.

SOURCES: Michael Siegel, M.D., M.P.H., professor, community health sciences, Boston University School of Public Health; Paul Billings, vice president, national policy and advocacy, American Lung Association; Marcy Marshall, director, clinical enterprise communications, Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa.; Aditi Satti, M.D. director, smoking cessation program, Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia


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