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Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City 1199 1199

Penurious Penguin writes "On October 2, City Commissioners of Delray Beach finalized a policy which prohibits agencies from hiring employees who use tobacco products. Delray Beach isn't alone though; other Florida cities such as Hollywood and Hallandale Beach, require prospective employees to sign affidavits declaring themselves tobacco-free for 12 months prior to the date of application. Throughout the states, both government and businesses are moving to ban tobacco-use beyond working hours. Many medical facilities, e.g. hospitals, have implemented or intend to implement similar policies. In some more-aggressive environments referred to as nicotine-free, employee urine-samples can be taken and tested for any presence of nicotine, not excluding that from gum or patches. Employees testing positive can be terminated. Times do change, and adaptation is often a necessary burden. But have they changed so much that we'd now postpone the Manhattan project for 12 months because Oppenheimer had toked his pipe? Would we confine our vision to the Milky Way or snub the 1373 Cincinnati because Hubble smoked his? Would we shun relativity, or shelve the works of Tolkien because he and C. S. Lewis had done the same? If so, then where will it stop?"
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Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City

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  • by Hentes (2461350) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:27AM (#41567599)

    For some strange reason, nicotine addiction is viewed in society as acceptable. If someone would stop working every few hours and go out for a drink they would be called an alcoholic and fired quickly. Yet when others take 'smoke breaks' with the same frequency noone seems to care. It's not a problem when you smoke every now and then (at least it's not my problem), but if you can't survive without nicotine for 8 hours that's a serious addiction.

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:28AM (#41567611) Homepage Journal

    that's the real reason from the article.
    so next up, banning for anything else that kicks up the insurance a notch.

    had a heart attack? don't apply. high risk sports? forget about it. maybe they should have instead asked for the employee to pony up the extras for the health insurance.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by night_flyer (453866) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:28AM (#41567615) Homepage

    because gov't makes too much money off of it

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:29AM (#41567617)

    Why not just make smoking illegal? The policy seams to be that it is bad and that should not do it, so maybe it should be enforced.

    Do you remember how well prohibition worked?

  • Slippery slope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hessian (467078) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:29AM (#41567619) Homepage Journal

    If the rest of us are going to pay for their health care through insurance, we deserve the right to shut them off from their carcinogenic cigarettes.

    There is a bit of a slippery slope here. If diet soft drinks cause cancer, we should have the right to shut those off, too. At some point, we're going to find certain genes are responsible for susceptibility to cancer too (well beyond the 17% of smokers who get lung cancer [decodeme.com]). We should have the right to shut them out, too.

    Right?

  • This is bad. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZorinLynx (31751) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:29AM (#41567623) Homepage

    I don't like cigarettes; in fact, I despise them.

    But what the hell? Why should we be telling people what they can do in their own lives outside working hours? Especially when such activities are legal?

    What's next? NO ALCOHOL USE EITHER! Can't even go out to the bar with friends on a weekend because you might lose your job?

    Riding a motorcycle is risky to your health as well. CAN'T DO THAT EITHER.

    This is one HELL of a slippery slope and we should all be greatly concerned about it.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theNetImp (190602) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:29AM (#41567625)

    I'm asthmatic. The smell of cigarettes makes me want to hack out a lung. But....

    As long as what a person does does not hinder my personal space or health I don't see a need to make smoking illegal. I am tired of Mr Man making everything someone does illegal or more restrictive. If someone wants to smoke a pack at home let them. Make it against the rules to smoke on work time. Make them eligible to lose their job if they smoke from the time they walk in the door until the time they walk out the door. Don't take away their freedom to do something they enjoy.

  • by arth1 (260657) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:31AM (#41567645) Homepage Journal

    This is just ridiculous. We need federal laws specifying that an employer has no right to dictate or ask what employees does when they're not working.
    If they want control over workers 24/7 and need to control their future health, it isn't called employment, but something else, which already is illegal.

    If I want to spend my time off doing things people don't like, that shouldn't be anyone's business but mine. Whether it's smoking, skydiving, wild orgies, satanic rituals, or all of that at the same time.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mellon (7048) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:34AM (#41567675) Homepage

    I think the idea is that the employer wants cheaper health insurance. I wonder how many of the smokers never voted against politicians who made the war on drugs, and particularly drug testing in the workplace, part of their campaign platform.

    Unfortunately, what could happen here is that the employee continues to smoke, but signs the affidavit, qualifying for the lower insurance rate, and then gets dropped and fired as soon as an encounter with the health care system reveals the lie. In this situation, the employer is happy, because insurance rates are low, and the employee gets screwed.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by arth1 (260657) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:34AM (#41567681) Homepage Journal

    If someone wants to smoke a pack at home let them. Make it against the rules to smoke on work time. Make them eligible to lose their job if they smoke from the time they walk in the door until the time they walk out the door.

    What about smokeless tobacco products?
    Or coffee for that matter?

  • by YukariHirai (2674609) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:35AM (#41567693)
    Having a short break every so often to give your brain a chance to recuperate is certainly a good thing, but sucking on a cancer stick while doing so is not mandatory.
  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hazah (807503) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:38AM (#41567719)
    It's not about a right to do anything and everything you please, it's about the lack of the rights of others to stop you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:40AM (#41567735)

    Well I'm addicted to caffeine, my nephew is addicted to world of warcraft. My dad's addicted to hard work, he can't relax.

    I think you've just heard 'addicted to crack' so often that you're putting too much weight on the word 'addicted'. Nicotine addition isn't a big problem to society, it's the *tar* that's the big problem in cigarettes. The nicotine is just a problem in that it makes them smoke and smoking is bad m-kay.

    Coffee addition IS acceptable, not just VIEWED AS. There's nothing wrong with needing a coffee, even less than 8 hours.

    I bet you're not so perfect that someone doesn't need to cut YOU some slack.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rockout (1039072) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:42AM (#41567749)
    If smoking is so great and such a valuable right that others shouldn't be able to stop you doing it whenever and wherever you please, why do cigarette companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year just to keep convincing people they need to keep doing it?
  • yep, it's stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cellocgw (617879) <cellocgw@gmail.cUMLAUTom minus punct> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:44AM (#41567765) Journal

    I'm an ardent anti-smoker but that doesn't lead me to support idiotic employment rules. The overall problem of health care (and guess what: I support single-payer) really should be none of a company's business. So long as the employee gets his work done, is reliable, and doesn't adversely affect his cow-orkers, what he does off the clock is his business. I have no problem with a company banning tobacco use on company property&time (or banning alcohol; and I wish they'd ban cube radios playing country music too), but testing employees for off-work use of either legal or controlled substances should be flat out illegal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:46AM (#41567779)

    ''if you can't survive without nicotine for 8 hours that's a serious addiction.''

    I have noticed you, friend, leaving your cubicle frequently to urinate. Sometimes you even stop in the hallways and greet others, as if to compound this waste of valuable productive time. But then you have been observed stopping yet again -- for a big long gulp of water. Clearly this is an abusive cycle and you know that ingestion of water leads directly to urination, it's a fact.

    If you'd just sip a cup of water at your desk, no more than your body needs, you could easily make the 8 hours without wasting the company's time.

    Don't you think it's time you got some help??

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:47AM (#41567783)

    As someone who smokes 2-3 cigars per month, works out religiously, yet couldn't get hired thanks to these ridiculous laws, I say you're wrong. Not all tobacco users are black-lunged smokers destined for the oxygen tank, just as not all people who eat are great big fatasses.

    GPs parallel is right on target.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamstar7 (694492) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:49AM (#41567799)

    I'm having trouble seeing the distinction, in practical terms.

    Simple enough, actually. Take, for instance, abortion. If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one. DON'T try to get legislation banning abortion passed to keep everybody from having an abortion just because you don't like it for reasons I'm sure you have every right to have. In the same way, don't tell me I can't have a cigarette in my own home or car when I'm all by myself. It's my choice. I'm aware of the consequences and I choose to live with them.

  • Discrimination (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte@@@gmail...com> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:49AM (#41567801)

    So, It's illegal to refuse to hire somebody because of sexual orientation,skin color, country or origin,religion, and a bunch of other stuff. But it's ok to discriminate based on after-hours smoke-inhaling? The world is fucking stupid.

    Don't get me wrong, I believe any business should be allowed to hire whoever the fuck they want,and discriminate based on anything, even race and other protected characteristics. If you don't wanna hire black people, smokers, or homosexuals, it's up to you. I refuse to hire religious idiots, and it's my fucking right too.

    But the government belongs to EVERYBODY, so the government CAN'T engage in such discriminatory activities. And they can't promote it. Blacks, Jews and Woman have acquired equal rights, and are rarely discriminated anymore. Homosexuals are towards that goal. Right now, the single most attacked and discriminated group are smokers. Marijuana users aren't as discriminated against as tobacco smokers. WTF

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:49AM (#41567811) Homepage Journal
    Prohibition was a nightmare for the country and repealed for a reason. People have pleasure needs. Maybe you like to watch 14 hours straight of Zoey 101. Others like beer. Others like smokes. Others like fatty food. I even once knew a guy who's thing was hanging from the ceiling by rings pierced into his back.

    I think the biggest point to be made here however, is "what is bad for you" is subjective, and once you let someones opinion dictate your life, life may stop being worth living.
  • by mbone (558574) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:51AM (#41567823)

    This is what decent people get for putting up with drug tests.
    How hard is it to understand that fascists will never stop taking more?

  • Re:Slippery slope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arth1 (260657) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:55AM (#41567875) Homepage Journal

    If the rest of us are going to pay for their health care through insurance

    You have missed the whole point of insurance, which is a gamble where most people lose a little, but are covered in case they need a lot.

    That's okay, the insurance companies miss this pesky little fact too, and as they strive to approach better accuracy in risk prediction, they forget that as accuracy approaches unity, everyone approach paying what their own future costs would be, plus the overhead of the insurance company. In other words, we would be better off without insurance.

  • by shadowrat (1069614) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:56AM (#41567889)
    Turns out that maybe it isn't the carbs either, but the fact that people won't get off their asses and burn the fuel they are taking in.
  • by mbone (558574) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:01AM (#41567935)

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    C. S. Lewis

  • by YttriumOxide (837412) <yttriumox AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:03AM (#41567959) Homepage Journal

    I couldn't stand the highly technical coding I do for a job without my periodic "Cigarette Break". Every couple of hours I go outside into fresh air, light up a cig, see some daylight, and let my mind relax for a moment, to recharge for another 2 hour bout of the highly quantitative stuff I do.

    I quit smoking just a bit over two weeks ago; and this is what I'm finding hardest so far.

    I'm also a coder; and responsible for a lot of product planning matters as well. I used to use my cigarette breaks as "unwinding" time. Now that I'm not smoking, I take fewer breaks (generally just one in the morning; one for lunch; and one in the afternoon) and the lack of "unwinding" is really causing problems for me. I tried increasing my breaks back to the same as when I smoked, but since it's still so soon after quitting, each break reminds me too much of wanting to light up and it really stresses me out more than letting me relax.

    If you ever decide to quit, be wary of this... I don't have a good solution - I'm just counting on that it'll get easier with time.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 1s44c (552956) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:03AM (#41567961)

    I smoked for over half of my life; and just quit two weeks ago

    Well done Sir!

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:08AM (#41568003)

    You are dead wrong. Total lifetime costs for smokers is actually lower because they die earlier, and the end of life costs are similar anyway.
     

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drosboro (1046516) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:13AM (#41568035)
    Well, that's a rather poor example. The people who "don't believe in abortion", by which I assume you mean "don't believe that abortion should ever occur", predominately believe that because they equate it to murdering a helpless child. Whether that's right or wrong, surely you wouldn't say the same thing about murder - "don't try to keep me from murdering if I want to, just because you've got a hang-up about it". Again, not arguing the case one way or the other here, but when you think about it from from their point of view (abortion == murder), at least their strong stance is understandable.
  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by realityimpaired (1668397) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:16AM (#41568069)

    Pedophilia causes great harm to other people. Smoking causes little-if-any harm to others.

    Quite aside from the general unpleasantness caused by the stench, there are a lot of documented cases of people contracting lung cancer from tobacco exposure without ever having smoked a cigarette in their life.

    Oh, and also, abortion does not harm other people because a fetus is not a person.

    The abortion debate should have nothing to do with whether the fetus is a person or not... the fact is that in every country where abortion was legalized, the number of women having abortions went down, because they could now get proper medical treatment and be informed of their options. Not every woman who decides she needs an abortion goes through with it, because many of them don't know about the other options available to them. Beyond that, making abortion illegal doesn't stop a woman from having an abortion, it just means she's less likely to have proper medical supervision before/after, and as a result, more likely to develop complications from the procedure.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:16AM (#41568071)

    Please note the generous use of derogatory terms like "hissy fit" to describe people who believe that others don't have the right to do what they want to with their own bodies. It's one of the refuges of the incompetent, with apologies to Isaac Asimov for mangling one of his better lines. I suppose we should just all accept whatever regulation or intrusion into our lives because somebody else knows what's best for us.

    Regulations and rules are to protect people from the actions of other people or (usually) corporations. You want laws to require manufacturers and retailers to tell people cigarettes are bad for them, or how many calories are in that 64 oz super duper sized soft drink? Have at it. More information is better than less, and a lot of the tragedies we've had in this country result from people making decisions on bad information. Once people have good information, though, what they do is up to them provided it does no harm to others.

    But..but..but...smoking! Yeah, yeah, we ban all indoor smoking in a knee jerk reaction without bothering to put any thought behind it. Like for example there are places where you pretty much have to go to live your life (retail stores, airports, offices, etc.) and there are places where you don't have to go if you don't want to (bars, casinos, homes, private clubs, etc.) Can't actually use brainpower there, can we? Also, never mind studies that show that places which install high-tech air cleaners have cleaner are inside than the air outside in many places, even when smoking is allowed in the building. Nope, gotta have that ban because...because...because smoking!

    This is the kind of crap that leads to things like the War on Drugs, the War on Terror (whatever that is besides a freedom-grab) and of course Herr Bloomberg's soda nazi behavior. It's got to be stopped and stopped now before it gets worse, which it will if we don't take action to defend the rights of those who we might not agree with.

    BTW, this might be a shocker after that rant, but I'm quite liberal, support a national single payer health system, and believe that the individual is more important than ANY organization, provided that individual is not harming anybody but himself or herself. In other words, I hold what I believe are classic American values which both liberals and conservatives used to hold without question, whatever else their differences. Now neither stereotyped "side" seems to. Sad...

  • Irrelevant. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brain-Fu (1274756) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:28AM (#41568207) Homepage Journal

    Being bad for you is NO JUSTIFICATION for making something illegal.

    People should be free to seek happiness, even if the mechanism of doing so is self-destructive. That includes the freedom to overeat, sit around and relax instead of exercise, spend too much time keeping their skin tan, watching movies/TV that makes them stupid, and on and on.

    When your pleasure-seeking causes direct and significant harm to others, THEN you have a case for making it illegal. If it only harms yourself, self-determinacy trumps the nanny-state (or should, at least).

    I will add, from a completely practical perspective, that when you make highly-desired goods illegal you create black markets (because humans make lousy slaves). The black markets then funnel significant money into the hands of criminals who have no qualms about murdering people to maintain their power base. Not only must I then live with these threats, but my tax money gets spent on more law enforcement which is generally ineffective no matter how much is spent and which takes away even MORE of my freedom in order to search for crime. So...making these things illegal causes very direct harm to me...much greater harm than keeping them legal causes me (should I free choose not to indulge).

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uniquename72 (1169497) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:31AM (#41568229)

    Don't take away their freedom to do something they enjoy.

    I don't know if anybody "enjoys" smoking.

    Not all smoking is cigarette smoking, despite what you and the people making these laws want to believe. I *enjoy* cigar smoking. A good cigar is delicious. Just like a good scotch. There is zero similarity between have a good cigar a few times per month (or even per week) and smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. The two activities are totally unrelated, except that they happen to both involve tobacco.

    But I still couldn't get a job at these places.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:31AM (#41568233) Homepage

    I'm sure your health insurance company likes to blame that on smokers, but that's not how prices work. You're the one keeping the prices high; as long as you pay them, they have no incentive to lower them. Supply and demand drives prices, not so much costs.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:34AM (#41568261)

    I smoked for over half of my life; and just quit two weeks ago

    Well done Sir!

    Why? What's it to you? Good for the other guy if that's what he wants to do, but why do you care?

    I quit about a decade ago just to see if I could. With all of those like you screaming at me about it being so addictive and destructive, I decided I needed to test it out, so I dropped it cold turkey one morning. A day later, no cravings and it wasn't bothering me at all. After a month, still no problem. Test passed.

    Yes, I smoke now, because I like to smoke. I don't much care what anyone else thinks about it. I'll bet you've a lot of insufferably bad habits compared to my smoking, but you'll not see me on a pedestal complaining about them. Those are your demons, not mine.

    As for the health issues, I'm well aware I'm not going to live forever, nor are you. We're arguing about this over maybe extending our lives for a decade? What a pointless argument. There's a million other medical conditions that could step in and make the point moot at any time, and a million other ways to die in a much quicker and more horrible manner at any time.

    Enjoy your life. You only get one of them. Make sure once is enough.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:36AM (#41568275) Homepage
    I hate smoking personally but this sort of restriction is discrimination, imo. You should not be able to have laws that stop you from hiring people for using legal products unless there is a clear case that it will hinder performance (like alcoholism). America is definitely not the land of the free now.
  • Agreed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brain-Fu (1274756) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:36AM (#41568279) Homepage Journal

    Making meat consumption illegal is not a likely consequence of making tobacco illegal.

    However, both are equally absurd. Adults should be free to make their own decisions about their own health, choosing their own trade-offs between short-term pleasure and long-term consequences. The government should be stepping in to protect this important freedom, by preventing companies from screening/punishing employees for what they do on their own time.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:37AM (#41568289)

    As a non-smoker (I can't even stand the smell of smoke on the person), And I supported the laws that banned smoking from work places and from bars in NY. However I think this finally crossed the line. Tobacco is still a legal substance and to test employees to see if they are smoking on their free time is crossing the line.

    What is next fire employees who do not have the correct Body Mass Index (Because they should be eating healthy) or how about just firing people who got cancer or AIDS because chances are they made something that was an unhealthy life style decision.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:39AM (#41568329)

    It has been proven that smoking is bad for you.

    It's been proven that living and breathing is bad for you. You're going to die from them eventually.

    Stupid argument.

  • by 7-Vodka (195504) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:40AM (#41568351) Journal

    My my, what a load of little totalitarianists we have on Slashdot.

    It seems so easy for some power hungry and repressed social misfits to suggest bringing the force of the armed government thugs down on any little habit they don't like these days. Yeah, let's SWAT raid someone's house because they chewed some tobacco. Great idea.
    I'm seeing a lot of idiots here that are happy to call for enforcement at the job, off the job and now let's make it against the law altogether to smoke.

    Please, take a look again at the United States Declaration of independence [wikipedia.org]:

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    Stated another way, it is the right of the people to abolish ANY government that becomes destructive to the people's pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness.

    Happiness is always subjective and temporal. You cannot predict it, calculate it or mandate happiness. It belongs to the individual and the closest we can come to quantifying it is by allowing an unhampered economy to perform economic calculations and examine prices of ends and means relative to one another. Such an economy will deliver the most happiness to the greatest number of people.

    Furthermore how can you be posting on Slashdot? Ye readers of ignorant of classic science fiction. Have you not read your Asimov? You cannot and should not go down the road where you try to protect humans from all risk. It leads to a life not worth living. Unfortunately, all of you little Hitler, Stalin or Mussolini wannabes will realize a little too late that you won't be the man or woman in charge of the oppressive government you try to construct and if you succeed, you will have lives not worth living by your own hands.

  • Re:Discrimination (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte@@@gmail...com> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:41AM (#41568371)

    Ok then. Do the same for grease food. Put gross pictures of obese people trying to wipe their ass in mcdonald's food packaging, and write "Fast Food causes morbid obesity" in bold black letter all over it. Do the same for alcohol, bacon, cars, detergents, cellphones, soda, chocolate, candy and salt.
    Everything causes cancer. Being alive is the leading cause of death. Deal with it.

    And, based on your argument, let's also ban hiring disabled people, because they have greater health insurance costs too.

    Let's not hire Woman either, since they might get pregnant and that means increasing health insurance spending, and maternity days, and sick days for her and her newborn. And getting pregnant is a lifestyle choice, just like smoking, so it's not really discrimination, all they have to do is stop getting pregnant, right?

  • by michael_cain (66650) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:49AM (#41568459) Journal
    Isn't it astounding how many of the "problems" involving health care financing that show up at Slashdot would be solved with single-payer, or regulation of medical insurance companies so that the system is functionally single-payer? And that 33 of 34 OECD countries have figured that out? And just coincidentally, that those 33 all have substantially lower spending for similar (and in several cases superior) health outcomes than the US?

    Not to mention that a single-payer system that brought health-care spending into line with the rest of the world would free up substantial amounts to support research in areas such as fusion, space, etc?
  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles@dantia n . o rg> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:51AM (#41568489)

    I totally agree with you to an extent.

    However, your smoking does has an effect on me - if nothing but for financial reasons if you truly do smoke in a vacuum. Your statistically more likely to get sick, and to die early.

    Would have to be calculated, and I am aware of official studies in Europe at least saying that overall a smoker is cheaper because they die earlier and are less likely to need years of care due to dementia et al. In addition, cigarettes are highly taxed in Europe to make up for whatever additional costs smokers might create. In practice it is so high that beyond additional health costs it also pays for a good deal of public infrastructure.

    The sickness raises insurance premiums for everyone. When you die, it's statistically a large ordeal leading up to the death- multiple cardiac events, strokes, etc. Eventually you will die, but your insurance company will spend a lot of money keeping you alive, and the hospital will spend a lot of time caring for you.

    They will do the same when I live healthy and suffer from Alzheimer's for two decades at the end. Again, a question of economics and statistics. And of course I have retaliation weapons: I practice Tai Chi Chuan a whole lot, out of my own budget and out of my own time. It may just mean that I won't fall in my old age and need a femur reconstruction, or new knee and hip joints due to bad posture. Do I get a refund for that? Can I demand that other people must practice Tai Chi Chuan as well? Can or should I be able to demand that people who do dangerous stuff at home - e.g., when renovating their house, or something - shoud not get health insurance benefits when they need them? No, and it's the right thing this way.

    If you are old enough for socialized medicine, then you really do cost me more.

    This does indeed effect me. The most I am gaining is some extra tax funds to the state...but those are short term gains. Long term, I am getting swindled.

    And once more, present the numbers. I paid for my health insurance my whole life and will do so when old. If it is noth high enough, I hope that insurance maths and state regulation together will adapt it to a sustainable level.

    It's terribly sad to see how the concept of solidarity was erased from several consecutive generations mostly in the US but in Europe as well.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:59AM (#41568571)

    When did we grow into a culture of "As long as it doesn't affect insurance premiums" The laws should quell insurance premiums and insure the liberty of its citizens not quell its citizens liberty and cow-toe to insurance.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uncqual (836337) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:00PM (#41568579)
    This is not a ban on smoking in the workplace, it's effectively a ban on employees smoking on their own time and in places, such as their own homes, outside of work.

    This ban has nothing to do with second hand smoke. It's intended to reduce insurance and disability costs for the employer.

    I expect the next ban will be on hiring people whose BMI or blood pressure or lipid profile are not in the healthy range due to their own personal habits (such as eating too much or not exercising three hours a week). Following that, I would expect a ban on hiring people who drink an 'unhealthy' amount of alcohol. Following that, perhaps passing an annual fitness test will be required for all city jobs even though there's no need for 'fitness' in the particular job the person is working.
  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968.gmail@com> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:01PM (#41568589) Journal

    I'd just like to add that all of you going "yay!" about this? remember the nanny state NEVER stops, and the smokers are the canaries in the coal mine. Don't forget there have already been states talking about "fat taxes" and "sweet taxes" to try to decide what YOU are allowed to eat and drink. Think it will stop there? How about a fine for every pound you are overweight, or a fine for every percent you are over ideal BMI? A fine if you have high blood pressure? After all you might be costing the dear insurance companies which we ALL will have to pay for!

    Remember folks the nanny state NEVER stops, they think you don't deserve to have ANY say, Big Brother is wise, Big Brother knows what is best.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:17PM (#41568727)

    I care when less people smoke, because it means less foul stench wherever I go. If you want to smoke, go for it--but I'm wouldn't appreciate that you do if I were ever to meet you.

    I can't speak for other smokers, but I do try to keep my habit away from others. I don't smoke indoors, I try to stay down wind or away from non-smokers, and I use breath mints.

    I wish non-smokers were as considerate of the things I despise that they do.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rockout (1039072) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:24PM (#41568799)

    Sorry, you've missed the point, so I'll use capital letters to emphasize the pronouns that you ignored, and do it more directly.

    If YOU smoke near me, it makes MY clothes and hair stink, and it gets into MY lungs and damages them. I'd say all of that has to do with me. Your chosen habit is disgusting. Deal with it, and the laws that you whine about saying you can't smoke in bars, restaurants, and near entranceways to buildings where all the little trolls congregate outside, because you live in a world that is increasingly more crowded and your habit is not only disgusting, it does affect the rest of us directly.

    On the other hand, I champion your right to smoke in the privacy of your own home until your lungs rot away. I have absolutely no problem with that, and if were a lawyer, would represent you in court to defend your right to do so for the rest of your shortened life.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CapOblivious2010 (1731402) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:30PM (#41568893)

    Simple enough, actually. Take, for instance, abortion. If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one. DON'T try to get legislation banning abortion passed to keep everybody from having an abortion just because you don't like it for reasons I'm sure you have every right to have.

    I agree completely, and I think this simple logical principle should be extended to other areas. For example, if you don't like armed robbery, don't rob anyone. But don't go passing legislation to keep other people from engaging in armed robbery - that's a private decision between a man and his gun dealer, and it's really no one else's business.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nbauman (624611) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:40PM (#41569017) Homepage Journal

    If you want to smoke marijuana, then for all practical purposes you can't serve in the U.S. military, which has a rigorous drug-testing program.

    I think the military should add tobacco to the list of drugs that military personnel are forbidden to use. Every military person is supposed to be combat-ready, and the effect of smoking on lung capacity alone would make them significantly less capable.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:40PM (#41569019) Homepage Journal

    While you are correct if a person's smoking-related early health decline and death happens after his economic contributions to society have dropped below his economic costs to society, I have to ask if you accounted for early health declines that force early retirement or cause death during normal employment years?

    Let's look at 3 people, Allen, Brian, and Charlie.

    All 3 work a decent jobs and are paid enough that if they retire at age age 65 they will have a nest egg that last them through age 95, including a couple of years in a nursing home and a few trips to the hospital for major events like broken bones or heart attacks.

    Allen is a non-smoker. He retires at age 65 and enjoys a healthy retirement until age 70 when old age really starts to slow him down. He has a mild heart attack at age 75 and lives the next year in a nursing home until he dies of a major heart attack. That last year is expensive. He leaves a large inheritance for his family since he didn't live to age 95 like he planned.

    Brian is a smoker. He retires at age 65. He has a mild heart attack at age 70 and lives the next year in a nursing home until he dies of a serious heart attack. He leaves an even bigger inheritance for his family since the money he saved by dying 5 years early was more than the money he spent on cigarettes all those years, even in today's dollars.

    Obviously, if you ignore things like the value of human life and human dignity and just look at dollar signs, Brian's smoking was "cost-effective" for him, his family, and society than Allen's choice to not smoke.

    But let's look at what happens when smoking takes away your ability to financially contribute to society:

    Charlie is also a smoker. He has a sudden but mild heart attack at age 50. Despite medical advice, he doesn't stop smoking. Being so young he's able to recover and is back at work within a few months, albeit at reduced work hours. He's progressing and expects to be back to full-time work and back on his career path within a year or two when BAM he has a near-fatal heart attack at age 51. If he'd been 20 years older it would have killed him outright. This time he listens to his doctors and quits smoking. He's in the hospital for weeks and in rehab for months, and never does get his strength back. He has to take medical retirement. By age 55 he's able to work part-time but he's never able to work enough to maintain even a lower-middle-class standard of living on his own. If it weren't for his employer's medical disability plan, he'd be be barely making it on Social Security disability. At age 65 he has a heart attack that puts him in a coma. His family, honoring his wishes, puts him in Hospice and he dies of complications a few weeks later.

    Do studies that compare the cost to society of smoking vs. non-smoking take into account the "lost productivity" of people like Charlie?

  • by Toonol (1057698) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:52PM (#41569167)
    In some societies, the concept that we are our brothers' keeper is very strong.

    In these societies, if something is bad for someone then that's enough justification to outlaw it.

    Those societies are dystopias.
  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:54PM (#41569191)

    Maybe, but only if it can be demonstrably shown that use of a specific substance off-hours affects on job performance in ways that threaten the health and safety of other employees...and I mean demonstrably shown and not some bullshit specious what-if scenario..

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Raenex (947668) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @01:11PM (#41569339)

    Test passed. Yes, I smoke now, because I like to smoke.

    Uh huh, "Test passed". So you actively took up a habit again that is bad for your health, stinky, and expensive because you like it, but no sir, you are not addicted in any way.

    I used to smoke a long time ago, but before I managed to quit permanently I went through several stints when I quit much like you did. Yet I kept going back to it, especially when hanging around other smokers. Your argument amounts to the trite, "I can quit anytime, but I don't want to."

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Omestes (471991) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `setsemo'> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @01:47PM (#41569667) Homepage Journal

    Every military person is supposed to be combat-ready, and the effect of smoking on lung capacity alone would make them significantly less capable.

    That explains the American military's performance during the last two World Wars, then...

    Oh... wait.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @01:50PM (#41569691)
    You are a hypocrite. Us non-smokers put more crap into peoples lungs with the crap spewing out of our cars and even more so with our second hand car exhaust than the smokers with their cigarettes by a very wide margin. Our car exhaust not only stinks more, and damages MY lungs more.

    Of course, if I were a lawyer, I would champion your right to run your car in your own home until you fell asleep and didn't wake up. I have absolutely no problem with that, and would represent you in court to defend your right to do so for the rest of your shortened life.
  • Re:Easy answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by narcc (412956) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @03:46PM (#41570679) Journal

    Where does it stop?

    You have an allergy to tobacco smoke, so it's okay to ban tobacco -- okay, you won't find too many objections.

    Some people have an allergy to peanuts -- some incredibly sever, far worse than any tobacco smoke allergy. Should we ban peanuts? Maybe it makes sense in schools. Maybe that should be extended to other gov't buildings or business that serve the general public.

    I have an allergy to the base in some perfumes -- my nose runs constantly, my eyes tear up, it's very unpleasant. Should we ban perfume? I'm on board!

    How about this: We err on the side of freedom. Let businesses decide to allow or not allow smoking, peanuts, or perfume. We consider any policy that discriminates against workers for engaging in legal activity (smoking, eating peanuts, wearing perfume) outside of work to be unlawful.

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @03:46PM (#41570683)

    It really surprises me that a country like the USA, ( I am English) that has a proud history of fighting for freedom of the individual, your father's, grand fathers and even further back in you history have fought for these freedoms can even entertain the idea of banning / removing people's freedoms. if some people are so anti smoking then exercise one of the other rights you have and leave the country there are loads of dictatorships in the world you would fit in with and could dictate to people what they can and cannot do. Leave the USA a proud and free Nation......

  • Re:Make it illegal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by isorox (205688) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @04:13PM (#41570875) Homepage Journal

    If YOU smoke near me, it makes MY clothes and hair stink, and it gets into MY lungs and damages them.

    First, as I mentioned elsewhere here, I don't smoke near non-smokers. I am well aware of how intolerant you people can be.

    Secondly, I do not believe for a second all the BS I hear about second hand smoking. What a crock of shit that is and how to stretch an idea! No, you don't smoke in a car full of kids with the windows rolled up, because why would anyone?!? I wouldn't pee in my Mom's coffee either, because why would anyone?!?

    I say again, I can't speak for other smokers, but *my* 'habit' will not affect you anywhere near as much as some of your 'habits' affect me.

    So you wouldn't mind if I decide to carry a skunk and spray you every time you walked past me?

    Smoking is of course fine in your own home, but in public places your right to smoke (should) end at my nose, hair, lung and clothes.

  • Re:Easy answer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stirling Newberry (848268) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @04:47PM (#41571111) Homepage Journal
    You have the freedom to smoke, and the have the freedom not to hire you.
  • Re:Easy answer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tlambert (566799) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @04:18AM (#41575261)

    Where does it stop?

    You have an allergy to tobacco smoke, so it's okay to ban tobacco -- okay, you won't find too many objections.

    Some people have an allergy to peanuts -- some incredibly sever, far worse than any tobacco smoke allergy. Should we ban peanuts? Maybe it makes sense in schools.

    All daycare and K-6 in my area has banned peanuts in schools; no, I was not involved in it, but it beats a daycare worker hitting someone with a low body mass with an adult epipen. It also avoids hitting someone in the middle of a reaction with an epipen, hitting a vein, and causing an instant cerebral aneurism. Many airlines, including Delta, have voluntarily withdrawn peanut products from the in-flight snacks they offer when the flight isn't long enough that they are federally mandated to actually serve meals (or more likely, pick up a sack lunch on the way into the plane),

    I have an allergy to the base in some perfumes -- my nose runs constantly, my eyes tear up, it's very unpleasant. Should we ban perfume? I'm on board!

    Is it an anaphylactic reaction, or is it one that can be managed with oral H1 and/or H2 blockers? Most planes carry both benedryl (H1) and ranatidine (H2) blockers. But personally, I'd say this one is on you: your reaction comes from an aromatic with environmental exposure, it's generally manageable with over the counter medication, and you are voluntarily placing yourself in the situation where you are getting exposed. From that perspective, it might also be resonable to have DMV workers, court clerks, and other public employees refrain from bringing the allergen into situations where your presence is far less voluntary. Just like aromatized cigarette ash brought in by a smoker.

    How about this: We err on the side of freedom. Let businesses decide to allow or not allow smoking, peanuts, or perfume. We consider any policy that discriminates against workers for engaging in legal activity (smoking, eating peanuts, wearing perfume) outside of work to be unlawful.

    What about other substances, which I agree should be legalized, and other substances which are currently legal, such as alcohol, which would impair your performance, potentially in life threatening ways for someone? A coked-up lab tech or a drunk taxi driver are things you are only going to catch after the fact, when someone dies.

    How about we take your examples to their reductio ad absurdum conclusion instead? How about we only file drunk driving charges when there are damages to person or property, and so long as they don't run over somone or into something, society minds its own business and lets them drive drunk?

Frankly, Scarlett, I don't have a fix. -- Rhett Buggler

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