The ethical implications are reviewed this week in the New England Journal of Medicine
where the authors seem to take the position that smokers should not be punished, but rather reformed.
"Finding employment is becoming increasingly difficult for smokers. Twenty-nine U.S. states have passed legislation prohibiting employers from refusing to hire job candidates because they smoke, but 21 states have no such restrictions. Many health care organizations, such as the Cleveland Clinic and Baylor Health Care System, and some large non–health care employers, including Scotts Miracle-Gro, Union Pacific Railroad, and Alaska Airlines, now have a policy of not hiring smokers — a practice opposed by 65% of Americans, according to a 2012 poll by Harris International. We agree with those polled, believing that categorically refusing to hire smokers is unethical: it results in a failure to care for people, places an additional burden on already-disadvantaged populations, and preempts interventions that more effectively promote smoking cessation."
Read the complete article: The Ethics of Not Hiring Smokers, Harald Schmidt, Ph.D., Kristin Voigt, Ph.D., and Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D.
March 27, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1301951
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