KPCC in Los Angeles, the major NPR affiliate in southern California, featured a debate over smoker-free workplace policies on Patt Morrison's show Tuesday afternoon. You can listen to it here.
Dr. Terpeluk from the Cleveland Clinic argued that not hiring smokers is important for the hospital system to set a good example. But why only model that behavior with new employees? What justification is there for allowing existing smokers to remain employed, knowing that they are setting such a terrible example for the patients and are modeling such awful behavior?
In attempting to argue that not hiring smokers is not comparable to not hiring overweight people, Dr. Terpeluk argued that smoking is different because there is a direct causal connection between smoking and disease. But there is undoubtably a direct connection between obesity and disease as well.
Lewis Maltby from the National Workrights Institute joined me in arguing that refusing to hire smokers is employment discrimination and lifestyle control that violates the privacy of individuals.