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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Should Employers Hire Smokers?

Workers' Compensation claims seem to increase with both complexity and severity when a worker is a smoker and suffers an occupational exposure. The class case is the synergistic effect that smoking has with some carcinogenic substance such as asbestos.

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

Read more about "smoking" and workers' compensation
Nov 20, 2012
Average air pollution levels from secondhand smoke directly outside designated smoking areas in airports are five times higher than levels in smoke-free airports, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and ...
Oct 06, 2011
"Passive smoking exposure is a topic of great concern for public health because of its well-known adverse effects on human health (International Agency for Research on Cancer 2004). Two news articles on this topic were ...
Apr 23, 2011
"Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure causes lung cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases in nonsmoking adults and children, resulting in an estimated 46,000 heart disease deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths ...
Jul 11, 2009
In many jurisdictions firefighters are allowed a presumption under the law that their pulmonary disability is causally related to their employment under workers' compensation. Now firefighters hired after January 1, 2010 in St.