It has been several years since the Cleveland Clinic and the Weyco Company banned smoking on their campuses and for anyone who wanted to work for them. When each rolled out these directives - pre 2007, they provided smoking cessation support, counseling and medications. They also test to confirm that the persons are not using tobacco (this gets tricky if a person is using Nicotine Replacement Therapy and I do not know they particular policies for those circumstances but I have ideas on how they might manage).
Over the weekend, banning smoking in workers was again in the headlines. It seems more companies are joining in on the fun. I wonder what people who are hard core individual rights activists and/or those who are anti GOVERNMENT regulation (often free market and corporation friendly)- what do they think about companies deciding that a behavior is NOT okay.
To be clear, as I mentioned in this old post (under the Weight Watchers heading) I am completely for banning smoking - in fact - making it illegal would tickle me (a former smoker).
When the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic was interviewed for NBC Nightly News recently he noted that YES, they were concerned about the health aspect of it and the health insurance aspect of it but even more so now, the financial risk to of having smokers as employees is too great a risk to take. These "smoker" employees (in general - maybe not YOU an employee that smokes) are more likely to miss work, be present but less productive, become diseased and disabled, or to retire early and possibly on company disability insurance and so on.
As I said, several companies are now participating. Baylor Health and Georgia Power were specifically mentioned in the news cast. In fact, there are 21 states who have companies who ban smoking in employees. I know it is banned for new hires for at least one of the county health departments in Florida. (24 states do have smoker's rights laws, again, according to the news story I heard on NBC - so companies might have trouble in those states). BTW - several industries have high smoking prevalence in their employees - construction is one, but I believe the USPS is another.
Jobs are hard to come by these days and as someone interviewed on the news said ,"If I can work for some place as esteemed as the Cleveland Clinic and they want me to quit smoking, Sign ME UP." I say -Here - Here - or is it hear, hear - because that is a message we need to hear.
Not hiring people who smoke or use tobacco may be just as effective a strategy as raising taxes, using warning labels and promoting NRT for improving quit rates and reducing the numbers of persons who die from smoking related lung and heart disease.
I believe that you can get to the news story by clicking on this link - it is pretty interesting.