Okay, here I go. With all of the giant problems on our small globe, I shouldn’t ricochet off on the issue of smoking bans, but my libertarian leprechaun is tugging at me.
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First, a personal digression. I smoked from about the age of 16 to 22 – a nasty but youthful vice. I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t get addicted, so I was able to quit cold turkey. (By the way, what does that mean? Presumably a cold turkey is a dead bird, somewhere between chilled and frozen, but what does that have to do with quitting something? Meanwhile, back to smoking.)
I support nearly all smoking bans – in offices, airplanes, theaters, restaurants, bars, etc. etc. But here comes a step beyond. More and more corporations and public entities have gone from banning smoking… to banning smokers. Yes, this means that if you smoke on your own private time and in your own private place, you are persona non hireable.
Now tighten your skis, for here we go down a very slippery slope. Not only are some employers decreeing that you can’t be hired if you puff (even a little bit), but they’re saying that if you’re already an employee and you get caught puffing – poof! – you’re gone.
"The issue isn't just jobs. Even slaves had jobs. The issue is wages." --Jim Hightower
And how would the bosses know that you had a Marlboro Moment last night as you walked home? Urine tests. Excuse me, but tobacco is legal. Yet employers are compelling workers to pee in a cup to see if they’ve been partaking in this legal substance, and if they have – they’re fired!
Are we really helping cigarette addicts to quit by denying them jobs? As one doctor notes, “unemployment is also bad for health.” I’m guessing that getting fired for smoking would make you want another cigarette.
What about us beer drinkers – are we next on the list of unhireables? And should there be a grease test on applicants who might be frequent Whopper eaters? Also, motorcycle riding is unhealthy. How many things can bosses ban before they have no one to boss?