Smokers Need Not Apply


This could be a bit of a conundrum for the trial attorneys ready and willing to sue employers for not hiring the unemployed. What if the unemployed applicants are smokers?

The Baylor Health Care System has decided that if you use tobacco, in any form, you won’t get a job with them.

“I don’t like it,” said Cassie Grooms. “I don’t think it’s fair.”

Smokers like Grooms were quick to condemn Baylor’s new policy that basically conveys: if you use nicotine, there’s no need to apply.

“We all have the right to smoke a cigarette,” Grooms said in disagreement. “I can understand not [smoking] on their property, but to not hire somebody for smoking…”

Baylor officials claim smoking has a lot to do with the high cost of health care. The FDA estimates smoking costs American employers some $200 billion a year in lost productivity and increased medical costs.

“It’s about how we continue to deal with the rising health care costs,” said Baylor CEO Joel Allison. “It’s about how do we really focus on the new model of health care around prevention and well, and how do we keep people healthy. And I think that’s very, very important for us as a city, a state and a nation.”

This smacks of the “tyranny of the majority” to me. There are now more obese Americans than Americans that smoke. So the obese people are fine with taxing the hell out of smokers, and discriminating against them. But if memory serves, obese people are crowding out smokers when it comes to the cost of health care. In fact, as we reduce the number of smokers, the number of obese people increases.

We all know smoking is bad for us, you can’t turn on the TV anymore without the graphic reminders. I just wonder when the anti-smoking crusaders are going to start going after the food abusers with the same vehemence. Have you ever seen a diabetic foot? Hey, if we’re going to have legal discrimination against groups of people, why not discriminate against everyone that raises the cost of health care?

Just asking.

*As a side note, I once worked for a company that charged all tobacco users an extra charge for their health insurance premiums. That’s fine. But they did not have extra charges for the obese, drug and alcohol abusers, or the sexually promiscuous. I’m sure they would have if they thought they could have gotten away with it.