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Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City 1199

Posted by timothy
from the welcome-to-our-prohibition-already-in-progress dept.
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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  • Make it illegal (Score:3, Informative)

    by kthreadd (1558445) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:23AM (#41567579)

    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.

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

      by YukariHirai (2674609) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:27AM (#41567609)

      Why not just make smoking illegal?

      So far, every time there's been any attempt to make things that are dangerous to people illegal in the US, half the country has a hissy fit and insists that they should have the right to do anything and everything they please, no matter how sensible it is to just stop doing the dangerous thing.

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

        by rockout (1039072) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:34AM (#41567673)
        I actually think this approach might be a reasonable compromise - and smoking pot should be legalized too, but if you want to smoke pot and get certain jobs, you can't. In other words, you're free to do whatever the hell you please in your home as long as it doesn't affect anyone else's well-being or their insurance premiums. Tough to make such an approach consistent, of course, but we may be heading in that direction when you look at all the US states that have made marijuana quasi-legal already.
        • 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.

        • 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: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.
        • 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?
          • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Interesting)

            by YttriumOxide (837412) <yttriumox AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:46AM (#41567771) Homepage Journal

            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?

            They don't. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year to try to get people to start smoking (or re-start as the case may be). Current smokers basically ignore most cigarette advertising as the vast majority will stick to one brand once they're accustomed to it.

            I smoked for over half of my life; and just quit two weeks ago. Cigarette advertising was something that I hardly noticed before - now I see it everywhere.

            • 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 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.

                • 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:5, Informative)

              by bonehead (6382) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:12AM (#41568023)

              As another lifelong smoker, I'll chime in and say that is 100% true. Advertising has zero effect on me.

              Addiction is "cool" like that. There is no need to advertise in order to get an addict to satisfy his addiction. His body and mind are already telling him that he must do so, and at a deep, instinctual level. The only way to explain it to someone who has been fortunate enough to avoid any form of addiction is to say that the drive is AT LEAST as powerful as the drive to eat when your hungry is. Depending on the substance in question, the drive can be every bit as powerful as the drive to breath.

              So, yeah, the only need for advertising is to get new people to voluntarily submit to that scenario.

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

            by dark12222000 (1076451) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @01:05PM (#41569281)
            You're confusing advertising with rights.

            I have a right (a liberty in Hoefield's scheme of rights) to curse within my own home. I also have a right to live off of brownies if I so decide. I don't have that right because brownies or cursing is so "valuable" per se, but because it's my right, legally, to do what I wish within my home so long as it doesn't affect others. To carry my example, I can't curse so loudly as to disrupt my neighbors, even though I can otherwise curse - again, the issue isn't the cursing here, it's that I am disrupting my neighbors.

            We can argue that smoking seems to cause a lot of health issues for non-smokers who are nearby. The majority of the research we have at this point seems to indicate a causative pattern pretty strongly. Therefore, at least in some states, you can't smoke in a restaurant or by a door way. On the other hand, there is absolutely no reason (nor does the Federal Government have the ability to) limit smoking within the privacy of your own home. I would argue that most businesses don't either unless they can prove that your smoking/non-smoking is required for your job (say, if you work at a hospital).

            TLDR: "If [eating brownies] 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 [brownie producing companies] spend hundred of millions of dollars every year just to keep convincing people they need to keep doing it?
      • 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.
        • Re:Make it illegal (Score:5, Informative)

          by T-Bone-T (1048702) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:05AM (#41567975)

          It has been proven that smoking is bad for you. It isn't subjective at all.

          • by JustOK (667959)

            So is being near car exhaust.

          • by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:16AM (#41568065) Homepage

            It's been proven that eating shit tons of fatty food is bad for you too, but the fact is the government is not actually there to protect you from yourself. Ban liquor and people make stills, ban weed and people grow the plants, ban cigarets and I'm sure people will find a way to get them. If it is not obvious by now it should be, people 'enjoy' doing all kinds of shit that is harmful to themselves.

          • 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: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.

      • 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...

      • by vivian (156520)

        See how Prohibition worked out for a good reason why trying to protext people from themselves by banning addictive products is a stupid idea.
        All that would happen is it would become yet another drug that is peddled by your local corner guy - at great profit to them and great cost to the community in trying to enforce the laws and lock up nicotine drug users.

    • 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: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.

      • 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?

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

        by ryanw (131814) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:51AM (#41567827)

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

        I don't know if anybody "enjoys" smoking. They probably enjoyed it the first year or two when it was cool to hang out with the friends and feel cool "smoking", but nobody enjoys smelling like that all day long, or having their breath stink, or have your body take the toll it goes through from smoking. It's something that starts out socially, and then slowly but surely becomes incorporated into their daily living experience as a vice.

        Someone needs to come up with some new "cool" way for people who hardly know each other can hang out and feel part something that doesn't involved sex, drugs, alcohol or smoking something. Smoking is a gateway to feel like you have friends. If you ask a stranger for a bite of a hamburger or a couple french fries they're going to think you're insane, ask for a light or a cigarette and they'll put down whatever they're doing and reach in their pocket and gladly help you out.

        Same thing goes with the workforce. If you want to feel immediately cool, follow the group of people down to the smoking section and immediately there's a group of people who welcome you in to make you feel like you have a group of people to hang out with and talk to. Plus who can argue with going outside and talking with people all day long? It seems like smokers get the free-pass to leave their desk anytime they feel like it, and they have a good excuse.

        With the high-school social desires of teens and interoffice acceptance of smoking it makes for tough competitor to "nothing".

        Instead of putting all this money towards increased anti-smoking campaigns, all they would need to do is funnel a little bit of money into some sort of "social spots" that have gum, some candy, soda, water, nice chairs, and a place where it's accepted to hang out and talk for a few minutes and move on. This would give people the gratification they want to go into an area and hang out for a few minutes, talk, and go back to work. I think the problem with this idea is that there's no acceptable "need" to go down there every few hours. People might look at you as a slacker hanging down there, whereas the smoker doesn't get deemed a slacker for "going for a smoke"..

        • 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 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: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.

  • by another random user (2645241) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:25AM (#41567587) Homepage

    Tobacco products complying with the world’s first plain-packaging laws started arriving in Australia’s stores around Oct. 1. [businessweek.com]

    New government standards set out the images and health warnings that must cover 75 percent of the front of cigarette packs. Among them: a gangrenous foot, a tongue cancer, a toilet stained with bloody urine, and a skeletal man named Bryan who is dying of lung cancer. Further warnings must appear on the sides and cover 90 percent of the back.

    The High Court of Australia in August dismissed a claim by British American Tobacco (BTI), Philip Morris (MO), Imperial Tobacco, and Japan Tobacco International that the law illegally seizes their intellectual property by banning the display of trademarks. Appeals have also been lodged by Honduras, Ukraine, and the Dominican Republic at the World Trade Organization, claiming the law restricts the tobacco trade.

    Cigarette makers are right to fear the regulations, says David Hammond, an expert in tobacco rules at the University of Waterloo in Canada: “Once tobacco control measures are established in one country, they spread.”

    • by orasio (188021) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:39AM (#41567725) Homepage

      Here in Uruguay, we've had that for a couple of years, I think. A quick google images search of "uruguay paquetes de cigarrillos" will show you what that will look like (only the ones in Spanish are Uruguayan: www.google.com/search?q=uruguay paquetes de cigarrillos&tbm=isch).

      They say that, in conjunction with a broad prohibition of smoking everywhere inside, it's working very well, esp. with young people

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:59AM (#41567917)

      Among them: a gangrenous foot, a tongue cancer, a toilet stained with bloody urine, and a skeletal man named Bryan who is dying of lung cancer.

      In the US some of us would have to collect the whole set.

  • Where will it end? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nightwraith (180411) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:27AM (#41567597)

    Now Tobacco/Nicotine, soon to come:
    Meat eaters need not apply, only strict vegetarians. The risk of eating high fat dietary items carries a higher risk of medical issues.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward

      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

    • 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 1s44c (552956)

        If you don't need to urinate in an 8 hour stretch you are dehydrated. Water is the most fundamental chemical needed by the human body and you are comparing this with cravings caused by a drug addition.

        Also sitting in a seat without break for 8 hours isn't very healthy either.

    • by Burdell (228580)

      "stop working every few hours" would be a welcome improvement; there are people at my office that smoke at least 5 minutes out of every hour. They stink up the office, sometimes blocking the door open because, while they are able to carry a pack, lighter, and cell phone, they can't carry keys. They litter (even though there's a butt-receptacle), and I can't open my office window because of the smoke.

      Smoking cigarettes is a filthy addiction, and not just because of the health issues. If I went and rolled

    • by green1 (322787)

      My biggest problem with smokers and their smoke breaks is that many companies don't extend the same paid breaks to non-smokers. I have worked several places where smokers left the building to go smoke for 15 minutes every 1-2 hours, and yet if I wandered off from my desk that often for that long I was threatened with termination. (I will note that I don't work at any of those places any more, but the point still stands)

    • I have to stop working every few hours too. honestly, i don't think i can work more than an hour straight. At best, i can manage a couple of pomodoros. I don't smoke, but I also don't know if smokers are going on a smoke break because they need the cigarette or because nobody that i know can go for hours without getting up and walking around, Smokers just happen to fill the down time with smoking.
    • by houghi (78078)

      In Belgium where I work, we work 7.5 hours per day. From 9 till 12 and 12:30 till 17:00. In the morning and in the afternoon I get 10 minutes of break time.

      This is not only me, this is the whole country (and probably the whole EU). So we stop working every few hours and go out. Some go out for a smoke. Some go out and eat chocolate cake and some go out and stare at their phone. As long as you get back in time, nobody cares. My of my cow orkers go along with the smokers when they take their 10 minute break.

      I

    • by T-Bone-T (1048702)

      Are you saying that smoking and drinking have similar effects? You don't drink do you? I enjoy drinking but I would expect to get fired from any job if I drank before or during work hours.

  • by dryriver (1010635) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:27AM (#41567603)
    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. Nobody should be hired/fired or not based on whether they smoke cigarettes. ------ Yes, cigarettes are not good for you in the long run. But it isn't anybody's business what you do or don't do with your own body. ---- It is idiotic how harshly non-smokers try to wean smokers off cigarettes. Tobacco products are not illegal. Nobody has a right to tell me that I can't smoke if I want to "keep my job".
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:30AM (#41567639)

      I go outside into fresh air, light up a cig

      doesn't the second part of that kind of make the first part a bit pointless

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by YukariHirai (2674609)
      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.
    • by cooldev (204270)

      As a vehement non-smoker I think everybody should take these breaks.

    • 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.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:27AM (#41567605)

    Or at least not the cancer causing problem. The tarry tobacco smoke builds up inside your lungs and prevents them from cleaning themselves properly. While nicotine does have circulatory implications its not transmissable by touch as far as I'm aware. Applying tests typical for contraband narcotics is not justifiable unless nicotine use is ruled as a hazard or detrimental to productivity or health and safety.

    Fark has a section dedicated to Florida for a reason I guess.

  • 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.

    • by Bigbutt (65939)

      Yea, work here is doing that too. We had an open window of time to certify that we were tobacco free so we can save $80 a year (or something) off our insurance. Plus we had to tell the insurance company within 10 days if we smoked after we certified.

      And work requires you to walk all the way off property to smoke. So smokers have a little hike to get to the other side of the parking lot to take a smoke break and you're not allowed to sit in your car and smoke while in the work parking lot. You have to get of

  • 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?

    • by scotts13 (1371443)

      Seems to me there was already a movie (Gattica) about that. Any gambler will take every chance possible to reduce his risk. Insurance of ANY kind is gambling; in this case, you're gambling you'll get sick, the insurance company (and, by proxy, the employer) is gambling you won't. Taken to its logical conclusion, only genetically-perfect, clean-living supermen will be employable.

      Question is, how far will we allow it to go?

      • Taken to its logical conclusion, only genetically-perfect, clean-living supermen will be employable.

        This is what slippery slopes arguments do best: show us the ultimate conclusion of our present path.

        However, I'm not sure we'll even get to such a healthy place. If we're going to go Nietzschean, and implement an uebermensch, humanity will be better for it!

        But instead we're going to penalize anyone who does anything other than conform, and claim it's progress.

        Compared to what we will do, Aktion T4 [wikipedia.org] and The Eug [eugenics.net]

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • yep, it's stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cellocgw (617879) <cellocgw&gmail,com> 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.

  • Discrimination (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerteNO@SPAMgmail.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

  • 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?

  • 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 aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:02AM (#41567953)

    That's how it sounds for me. (Sorry for bringing up Godwin's Law so early.)

    The next logical step is, of course, to exterminate all overweight people. Or, just don't give them a job, which is about the same in the US.

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:20AM (#41568105)

    Tying employment to health insurance has lots of downsides, and this is one of them. Without that coupling, there would typically be no reason for employers to know anything at all about what you do in private outside of working hours.

  • Where does it end? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erp_consultant (2614861) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:27AM (#41568185)

    I'm not a smoker. I hate the smell. But I don't agree with this. The last time I checked tobacco was legal to purchase and use. If it's a question of health insurance costs then what's next? Should we also exclude hiring people that are overweight, or have high blood pressure, or their lipid count is too high? Because surely they will consume health care dollars at some point too. What about people that have too much stress? Exclude them too? What happens if nobody will hire people that smoke? Should we just categorize them as permanently disabled and have society support them...or maybe just send them to a leper colony?

    This is a clear example of exactly why I don't want employers involved with health insurance. Sooner or later it comes down to money and then things like this happen.

    Personally I think that alcohol is a far, far greater problem to society than tobacco. Here is an indisputable fact - 100% of all drunk driving accidents and deaths are caused by alcohol. All of them...every single one. I can't prove this but my feeling is that a good percentage of assaults and domestic violence incidents are fueled, at least in part, by alcohol. In nearly every bar fight I have ever seen both of them were drunk. I'm not suggesting that alcohol has the same effect on everyone but it sure messes up a lot of people.

    Smoking is bad for you no question. Anyone that smokes should try to quit. People can get addicted to tobacco much like people can get addicted to alcohol. Instead of excluding tobacco users from the work force why not try to help them quit? If a smoker has the qualifications then hire them but tell them, look we'd rather you didn't smoke. Science has proven that it's bad for your health and we'd rather have healthy workers than unhealthy workers. It's better for you and it's better for us. So here's what we're going to do. We have a smoking cessation program and we'd like you to attend it. It's going to be part of your on-boarding process. We're going to pay for it and our expectation is that at the end of it you're going to be tobacco free. We're doing this because we think you'd be a good employee and we like to treat our employees right. At the end of it you're going to thank us. Your children will thank you because you'll live long enough to see their children. You'll feel better about yourself and that's the kind of people we want working here. What do you say?

  • 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.
  • by Loosifur (954968) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:38AM (#41568301)

    I'm posting this once instead of replying to the 45 or so posts that mention this. Smokers do not raise your insurance premiums.

    I'll repeat for emphasis:

    *Smokers do not raise your insurance premiums.*

    Smokers pay higher insurance premiums because they are in a different risk pool. You might be paying higher premiums for fat people, but the moment one of those tubsters develops diabetes or whatever, their premiums go up, so you're not paying as much as you think. Under Obamacare, granted, that changes slightly, because the law now makes it more difficult for insurance companies to raise premiums on policy holders who develop ongoing health issues. But smokers are already paying higher premiums just for smoking, before they even get in the doctor's office door.

    So, you are not paying for smokers' health insurance premiums. Get off your respective high horses. And loosen up, god, you must be the people who go to a party and complain about the music being too loud.

    Also, this is how you know that south Florida is not actually part of the South. It's actually a southern colony of Connecticut, and should be treated accordingly.

    Also also, if you live in a country with socialized medicine, you may very well be paying for smokers via taxes, but they're also probably paying a ton of tax on cigarettes, so get over yourself, commie.

  • 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.

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