Ban on Hiring Smokers
Smoking can be described as the process whereby a person inhales smoke from burning tobacco found in cigarettes or pipes. The key ingredient in tobacco is nicotine, which is often harmful to human health. The effects of smoking are on both the user and smoker and any other person exposed to smoke at toxic levels. The latest trend in preventive measures against smoking is denying smokers employment, especially in hospitals, a factor that I consider unethical (“No Smokers: Tn Hospital Begins Testing Newly Hired for Nicotine” 47).
There have been varying responses to this issue, with some people being in heavy support of the move. Hospitals perform nicotine tests on the applicants, and if they do not pass, they are disregarded completely or put in programs to help them quit smoking and then offered a chance to reapply later (Schmidt 37-9). A number of articles on the issue, especially effects of smoking on patients helped change my perspective of hiring employees who smoke in hospitals. Patients need to be protected against such effects on their already affected health.
Some of the themes emerging from this issue include discrimination and health risk that smokers pose to patients in hospitals. On one hand, the policy of banning smokers from employment in hospitals is an act of discrimination. This is because smokers have as much right as non-smokers when it comes to matters of employment, meaning that their qualifications should be of top consideration. On the other hand, exposure of patients to elements of smoking can further endanger their wellbeing.
Legally there is no law that protects smokers from discrimination in the employment sector. States have their own laws and a number of them are against discrimination of smokers during hiring. Factually, most hospitals have implemented this ban because it negatively affects healthcare costs, especially insurance of workers, which weighs heavier than their mission to promote wellness. Additionally, for as long as a patient is only indirectly exposed to the smoke, it requires a lot of time to get it out of the system.
Discrimination in this case is used to mean the unjust treatment of persons while hiring based on smoking. There are various federal and state laws that protect different individuals from any form of discrimination at the workplace. Smoking does not offer grounds for discrimination, and if there are any, they have often been countered by protection groups such as those of human and workers’ rights. Patient wellness refers to the promotion of their health and measures taken with its regard. It is crucial to ensure this and healthcare operators seem to have developed the notion that preventive measures against smokers contribute to this. Their arguments in support of the ban cite patient wellness as a primary reason for their action.
Whether they truly care for their patients or they do it to reduce costs of healthcare can only be judged using factual arguments. Hospitals solely understand all the reasons behind their actions, though it is important for transparency, especially where the wellbeing of others is in jeopardy. One of the few truths is that smokers have rights against discrimination like any other people even though there are no known federal laws that support them.
One fact is that smokers have as much right as non-smokers. These rights include those against discrimination. Many reasons behind the hospitals ban on hiring smokers are speculated and could as well be public opinion. This comes especially after many people and groups rose against the decision saying that it is an invasion of employees’ privacy by the hospitals in question.
There are, therefore, many views on the issue at hand by various people. Others base their perspectives on emotional attachment while others do so according to the facts at hand. Given the variation in the opinion, the issue can be tackled in different ways implying that there is no single solution to any problem.
In my perspective, it is wrong to ban smokers from working in hospitals without offering them a chance to express themselves (“Smokers Need Not Apply” 36). This expression is with regard to their rights and freedoms. As long as they do not smoke at work premises, it becomes discriminatory to deny them employment opportunities. If such habits are against hospital regulations, it is necessary to ensure that employees know them and that punitive measures are taken only when these regulations have been abused.
“No Smokers: Tn Hospital Begins Testing Newly Hired for Nicotine.” Hospital Employee Health. 29.4 (2010): 47-47. Print. Retrieved from https://www.premierinc.com/safety/about/downloads/heh042010.pdf
“Smokers Need Not Apply.” Modern Healthcare. 36 (2009): 36. Print. Retrieved from http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20110617/INFO/306179989
Schmidt, CW. “A Change in the Air: Smoking Bans Gain Momentum Worldwide.” World Hospitals and Health Services : the Official Journal of the International Hospital Federation. 43.3 (2007): 37-9. Print. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1940108/