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I'Cin
01-25-2005, 11:40 AM
My law firm's intranet page had this article on it today. How do you feel about this?

Heat Rises Over 'No Smokers Hired' Policy
Lawyers debate if ban, nicotine tests are legal

Tresa Baldas
The National Law Journal
01-25-2005


A Michigan company's recent decision to stop hiring smokers has angered employment lawyers who allege that the new no-smoking policy reeks of discrimination.

Several attorneys say the policy, which also requires that all employees undergo testing for tobacco use, goes too far in that it aims to regulate legal activity -- in this case smoking.

Moreover, they argue, it monitors what people do outside the workplace and discriminates against their lifestyles, a practice that is banned in 29 states that have smokers' rights statutes, also known as "lifestyle rights laws," which prohibit employers from discriminating against smokers.

Michigan is one of 21 states that do not have such laws. Others include California, Florida, Ohio and Texas.

"To have an employer monitor legal behavior is going over a line that we just can't cross. It's going toward that Big Brother mentality that we just need to stay away from," asserted Joni Thome, an employment attorney at Halunen & Associates in Minneapolis who hopes the recent Michigan policy prompts state legislatures to adopt lifestyle statutes.

"What's next?" Thome added. "Are they going to tell me who I can and can't talk to? Or you can't eat fast food? Come on."

But the Michigan company that's got lawyers fuming asserts that it has done nothing illegal, or unethical.

Attorney David Houston, who helped draft the no-smoking policy for Weyco Inc., a medical-benefits administration company in Okemos, Mich., said the CEO of the company is hoping to create a healthy work force.

He also denied claims that the company is banning smoking as a way to curb health care costs.

"The CEO is extremely committed to having a healthy work force … and he's using his company as a guinea pig for this policy to show employers that this tobacco-free policy can be implemented successfully," said Houston, of the Lansing, Mich., office of Detroit's Dickinson Wright.

NICOTINE 'TEST' IN USE

Such policies have been tried elsewhere. Last year, the Union Pacific railroad company in Omaha, Neb., announced a no-smoking policy for all employees, both on and off premises, and questions potential hires about smoking on applications.

Also, Alaska Airlines, which has a similar policy, requires job applicants to pass a nicotine test before they can be hired.

According to Houston and several other employment attorneys, there have been no recent legal challenges to the no-smoking policies. Houston cited one 1987 case, a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that upheld an employer's right to ban off-duty smoking.

In that case, a firefighter trainee sued the Oklahoma City Fire Department and city over a rule that prohibited smoking, on and off duty, for one year. The court found that the no-smoking rule had a legitimate purpose in promoting health and safety and did not violate due process. Grusendorf v. City of Oklahoma City, 816 F.2d 539 (10th Cir. 1987).

In the recent Michigan case, four Weyco employees have quit their jobs after refusing to take a tobacco test, according to Houston. He said the company announced the policy 15 months ago to its 200-plus employees, giving smokers more than a year's time to kick the habit before the Jan. 1 testing day. All employees have passed the test, Houston added.

But some lawyers remain skeptical about the new policy.

"My initial reaction was questioning whether that would be something that would pass muster in the courts, whether it would survive under the discrimination laws," said Lori Shapiro, general counsel and trainer for Employment Learning Innovations in Atlanta, a company that provides workplace legal training to help change employee behavior.

Shapiro, a former litigator in employment discrimination cases, said before the recent Michigan policy, she had never heard of a corporate ban on all smoking.

"It's a new one to me,"Shapiro said. "I'll be very curious to see if it does survive ... .I think it would be difficult to make an argument that someone's smoking off the job is influencing their performance on the job."

RichardMacHugely
01-25-2005, 12:10 PM
I think this policy goes too far, but I don't have any problem with employers banning smoking in the workplace or in their charging smokers more for health coverage.

cyd
01-25-2005, 12:51 PM
I think this policy goes too far, but I don't have any problem with employers banning smoking in the workplace or in their charging smokers more for health coverage.

I agree that they can bar smoking in the workplace, but the charging smokers more for health coverage opens the doors to charging people more for pre-existing conditions... Hell, some HMOs actually make pregnancy a pre-existing condition and won't cover it already... If you open the door to charge smokers more for healthcare (when smoking is voluntary), I can't imagine what they'd start doing to those who have no choice about their medical conditions.

Personally, I'd like to see everyone stop smoking, period. My own lungs don't take well to being around smokers, I'm entirely too happy that Montgomery County enacted a law banning smoking from restaurants and bars that serve food (since there's a place I go to every thursday with a bunch of the guys that used to reek of smoke and make me wheeze, and I can now happily enter). However, I know that stopping smoking altogether isn't going to happen.

I'd love to see the smoking stop in my own workplace. It drives me nuts to have to walk through a smoke-filled hallway in midwinter because the guys smoke so close to the door to avoid freezing that most of it comes in... So not only does the cold kill my lungs, but the smoke means I can't even retreat inside to effectively get away from it (been a cold sensitive asthmatic since I was 12).

Honestly, while I think it's a bit extreme, I think that it really can't be considered discrimination if you think about our anti-drug laws. It is NOT discriminatory to force someone to take drug screening tests as a condition for employment. Nicotine is another drug, just happens to be a legal one. I know that where I used to work (nuclear plant), they had a 24 hours drinking rule: You were NOT permitted to have alcohol within the 24 hour period of time before returning to work. And they had random testing for it.

If they can screen employees based upon drugs (another lifestyle choice) and alcohol (a LEGAL lifestyle choice), then why not for nicotine? Yes, one could argue about how drugs and alcohol will affect performance on the job, but smoking does as well. I know that one of my coworkers here almost got canned because he was taking TOO many smoke breaks and the boss was getting pissed that he was spending more time outside smoking than inside working.

While I might think the company in question is going a touch too far, at the same time, I can't see it being held up in court under discrimination laws.

biker
01-25-2005, 12:56 PM
discrimanatioin. big time. my life. don't want me to smoke during work? fine. what I do in MY time is MY time. has long has it's not illegal.

I'Cin
01-25-2005, 01:11 PM
As far as drug-testing, illegal drugs are, well, illegal. If I'm on a prescription - legitimately - that shows up in screening, that won't count against me once I bring in the note from my doctor, my prescription, etc. At that point, I'm allowed to take it; it becomes "legal." The employer might send me home if its something that that makes me, say, drowsy and I'm running a forklift, but they can't tell me that they won't hire me because I take medication.

No alcohol 24 hours before a shift is not too intrusive. If I have 2 days off, I can drink up until that 24 hour period. The employer didn't say that to hold the job you couldn't drink at all, which is what the no-smoking company is saying.

And whlile nicotine is a drug, it is currently a legal drug, like alcohol and prescription medicines. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing smoking go away, smoke plays merry hell with my sinuses/allergies, but while it is legal, the smokers do have some rights.

And would the next thing be to tell a prospective employee, that they only hire celibate people? That if you choose to have sex, on your own time, they won't hire you? What about eating fast food? Or you can't hold a job and eat chocolate? Attending renaissance faires/SCA events -- you could get hurt swordfighting or jousting? At what point does your employer get to cross into your personal life?

Ban smoking in the building, great. Ban smoking within 50 feet of the building, peachy. But dictate what is done LEGALLY on my own time, on my own property, or anywhere the behavior is allowed? Sorry, I have to draw the line.

I suppose it could become the "if you don't like it, don't apply there," but once the precedent is set, where does it go?

I'Cin

MaryDane
01-25-2005, 01:39 PM
I hear you Cyd! It's not an illegal drug. It's not exactly enjoyable to be around for those of us who don't smoke ( ** I'm a reformed pack-a-day smoker ** ). As a smoker, you don't necessarily notice all the special *charms* that come with smoking. But as a non-smoker, it's very noticable! I feel if somebody wants to smoke. That's fine. Just try and keep the smoking areas confined. If a building wants to be totally non-smoking ... that's fine too. But telling me I can't smoke at home or in my car ... that's a little over the top. Next they won't be hiring people who exceed their recommended BMI and will be doing Blood Sugar testing to make sure you're not sneaking sugar while you're away from the office.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em! (Just somewhere else, please!) ;-)

Mistress Kath the Innkeep
01-25-2005, 01:59 PM
The thing about smoking is that even if people don't smoke at work, the smell lingers in their clothes and hair, and on their person. In a business where workers are dealing with clients face to face, I think the employer has a right to regulate something that can cost them business.

For instance, I have severe allergy induced asthma. If I'm trying to do business with someone who is making me cough and sneeze and wheeze because they reek of smoke, I'm going to take my money elsewhere.

Kath

Psyche
01-25-2005, 02:50 PM
The thing about smoking is that even if people don't smoke at work, the smell lingers in their clothes and hair, and on their person. In a business where workers are dealing with clients face to face, I think the employer has a right to regulate something that can cost them business.
When I worked in the hotel business (assistant manager), we had a severe problem with this. The manager, accountant and I were all severely allergic to cigarette smoke, and we had two employees who reeked of it. The issue had been discussed with them and their attitude was what they did on their own time was their own business, regardless of how the lingering after effects effected others. Yes, they would bathe daily, but the stench saturated their clothing and their hair. (Some thought bathing in perfume would cover the smell. :roll: ) We received a lot of complaints from guests and eventually reasons were found to legally let those employees go.

We had the same problem in retail. I and others refused to work in certain departments where the employees reeked. The employees had no clue how bad they really smelled as they were used to it. It was not a cleanliness issue as their homes smelled the same way.

My mother-in-law smells the same way and I have a difficult time being in the same room with her because it sets off migraines. Others in the family have said the same thing, and it is one reason we avoid her.

Quite honestly, I do believe an employeer has the right to at least stipulate how an employee should not smell. When I was in charge of hiring and firing, if I knew a person's smell/scent would trigger other's allergies, they were not hired. Heavy smokers and those who smoke in their home were not hired. If a person wore too much perfume at all the interviews, they were not hired either. Bad breath (which some smokers have due to their habit) was another reason to not fire someone.


I have a lot of friends who are smokers and are very courteous about how their habit effects those around them. The ones who have had the attitude "Love me? Love my smoking" (like my mother-in-law) I do not tend to be friends with any longer.

I avoid places of business where the employees smell like cigarette smoke. As a business owner, I have not done business with other companies for the same reason. When I have to leave a package in my garage for a week to air out, because the package reeks, I tend to not do business with them again.

Aye, I do believe that an employeer has a right to regulate something that effects other employees (thus productivity) and can cost them business.

Psyche
01-25-2005, 03:02 PM
Additionally...
There are many people who smoke who I can be in close contact with and never have a problem with them. I would not know they were a smoker if that had not told me so. These tend to be people who smoke outside where the smoke blows away from them, wash their hands and brush their teeth and gargle after, and never smoke in the car. They admit it takes an effort to not smell like a smoker but that effort is greatly appreciated.

Those smokers tend to have a viewpoint that other smokers do not. They do not believe that their (paraphrasing them) 'nasty' habits should be subjected on others.

If a smoker does not set off the allergies/sensitivities of those around them, I tend to have zero problem with it and thus (when I was hiring) they would likely have been hired if they met the qualifications.

Eric McTavish
01-25-2005, 03:18 PM
my question is where does it stop...will companies make me take tests to monitor my cholesterol and require me to limit my intake...because Its bad for my heart? The problem with allowing someone to control your off-duty habits is you may never get that control back. I’m an ex-smoker (although I do enjoy a pipe of tobacco now and again (about once every 2 or 3 months)) but I dislike the idea of infringing on someone's private life. I’m not going to get into the argument about 2nd hand smoke and the fact the any restaurant could use available filtration and air systems the would eliminate the problem (because this is one of those arguments that nobody will ever agree on) but I cannot agree that an employer can dictate my off-duty life (even the military doesn’t restrict people in this manner in their off duty time)

Emrld
01-25-2005, 05:16 PM
I am really on the fence on this issue.
I was a smoker who did not allow it in my house, in the car with the windows down, always washed my hands and brushed my teeth when possible or at least took advantage of really strong mints.
I do know people who did not know that I smoked. I always stepped away if I was the only person in a group who smoked no matter what the group said. At work I stayed away from the door - in bad weather I sat in my car with outside air circulating and kept febreeze on hand.
I can agree that if it is effecting other co workers that something needs to change - like they have to keep work clothes in a locker at work and use company facilities to launder them (including underwear - yes bras will hold in the odor) and not be allowed to smoke during business hours even break and lunch time.
Yet I don't see how they can control what somone legally does in their own free time.
Maybe if it was a brand new start up company and currently no one in employment smoked . . . It might be possible.
But to force someone to decide to smoke or keep their job - the person will not be successful at quiting.
Hell I wanted to quit this time and I am glad that I did but man somedays it would be so easy to stop and buy a pack of smokes on the way home. If this wasn't something I chose to do for myself I probably would stop and buy a pack.

Just my rambling thoughts

Galleywench
01-25-2005, 08:28 PM
As a former smoker I feel I should be more outraged at the mere notion of this potential law....the whole reformed addict being the most vocal....but I can fully understand not wanting to hire a smoker....it's more expensive to have them on the payroll. More sick days, higher insurance rates etc...

That said....I cannot even begin to accept having to take a nicotine test to stay empoyed. Fine, no lighting up at work or during on the clock hours, but to restrict the use of a legal substance when an employee is off the clock??? Absurd!

mark my words....we'll see tabacco prohibition in our next generation of legislators.

Jessa
01-25-2005, 09:36 PM
Regulate results, not methods. If a company doesn't want their employees to have an offensive odor, or let smoke waft in by lighting up by the door, then they need to make it policy that workers don't smell strongly of smoke or perfume, and that no-one may smoke within X feet of the building (or maybe not on company property at all).

The health issue is unfair discrimination. Most choices we make about our lifestyles affect health, and likeliness to run up doctor bills and/or take sick days. Diet, activites, pets, everything!

Its only fair to judge an employee based on what they do and how they present themself on the job. If you show up smelling like an ashtray, drunk, or heavily sleep deprived, that's an issue. But, they company doesn't get to tell you when you must be in bed on a "work night" or what drugs you may or may not take.

I'Cin
01-28-2005, 01:20 PM
Employers have recently tried every carrot they can think of — including cash incentives and iPods — to persuade employees to quit smoking. Now some are trying the stick.

Pointing to rising health costs and the oversized proportion of insurance claims attributed to smokers, some employers in California and around the country are refusing to hire applicants who smoke and, sometimes, firing employees who refuse to quit.

"Employers are realizing the majority of health costs are spent on a small minority of workers," says Bill Whitmer, chief executive of the Health Enhancement Research Organization, an employer and healthcare coalition in Birmingham, Ala.

Federal and state laws bar employers from turning down applicants or firing workers based on race, religion or gender. Some states have enacted laws offering similar protections for smokers. But experts say workers in nearly half the states, including California, have few legal options if employers decide to prohibit them from smoking outside the workplace.

Employees in many states "work at the discretion of their employers and can be terminated for almost any reason as long as it's not illegal," says Stephen Sugarman, a law professor at UC Berkeley.

Last fall, Union Pacific Corp., an Omaha-based transportation company, stopped hiring smokers in seven states. Company executives said the move was made to help quell employee health costs, which have jumped more than 10% each of the last three years. Weyco Inc., an employee benefits firm with 200 employees in Okemos, Mich., began random drug tests for nicotine on Jan. 1, saying it would fire workers who failed the test or refused to quit smoking. (Four Weyco employees resigned rather than take the test, says the company's president, Howard Weyers.) The Riverside County Sheriff's Department plans soon to require applicants for deputy sheriff positions to sign a no-smoking agreement.

In most cases, employers are asking workers to report their smoking habits voluntarily or adding disclaimers such as "nonsmokers only" to job postings. Others are requiring workers to take breathalyzer tests that can catch traces of carbon monoxide in their lungs or submit to urine tests to detect nicotine.

A sheriff's office in Florida is asking job applicants who have a recent history of smoking to pass a polygraph test proving they no longer smoke outside of work.

Employees, workers' rights groups and some unions are decrying the smoking bans as an invasion of individual rights. "What you do in your own home after work or on the weekend is none of your bosses' business," says Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute in Princeton, N.J., a spinoff of the American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites). "The last time I checked, tobacco is a legal product."

Maltby says his organization is trying to persuade some states to pass broader worker-protection laws.

Critics of the smoking bans say it's not clear that smokers are more costly than other workers, such as people who are obese. Though some studies have shown that smokers have higher absentee and lower productivity rates than nonsmokers, economists say the research is limited. It's possible, they say, that smokers don't dramatically increase health costs with chronic and expensive conditions like emphysema, heart disease and cancer until they're much older, when they may be employed elsewhere or retired.

"It sounds right for employers to say, 'If we get rid of them, we'll save money.' But no one has the concrete data to prove that right now," says Tom Morrison, senior vice president of Segal Co., an employee benefits consulting firm in New York.

Although smoking rates continue to fall across the country — an estimated 23% of adults smoke today, down from 37% in 1970 — employers say they need to find new ways to rein in health costs. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy group based in Menlo Park, Calif., health insurance premiums rose 11.2% last year, the fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth.

Some companies have begun charging smokers higher health insurance premiums and forcing others into employee wellness programs filled with smoking-cessation plans. Last month, Alabama announced plans to raise insurance rates on public employees throughout the state who smoke, and it is considering doing the same with obese workers. And, of course, many employers have banned smoking within the workplace for years.

In December, a national study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that nearly a third of U.S. employers polled had smoking-cessation programs; 5% prefer not to hire smokers and 1% refuse to hire smokers.

Weyers, of Weyco, says he instituted his new employee smoking policy after realizing that "if I don't do something to change employees' demand for healthcare, I'll never do anything about costs." Weyers estimates he now spends $750,000 a year on employee health premiums, and he worries he can't absorb many more cost increases. The company self-funds its insurance plan so any reduction in health costs would bring immediate savings.

Weyers says that though some employees complained about the smoking ban — and several left — most employees have slowly come to accept the new policy. The company estimates that about 10% of its workforce smoked and calculates that 28 employees and their spouses have quit since the new initiative was announced a year ago.





Critics are concerned that if more companies follow suit, it will lead to other employer intrusions on workers' lives. What is to stop companies from telling workers they can't ride motorcycles? Or eat junk food?

Legal protections of off-work activities vary considerably around the country, with the general rule giving employers the right to fire an employee for nearly any reason. Employees in Colorado are protected in most legal behaviors outside of work, whereas those in New York are protected when engaging in specific activities like recreation, politics and consumption of legal products. California has less protection around workers' off-the-job behavior, although they can participate in political organizations. California prohibits random employee drug testing other than for job applicants and workers in high-risk occupations such as trucking or medicine.

Maltby, of the Workrights Institute, says employees are facing a variety of challenges to their freedoms outside of work. A worker in Texas was fired in 2003 for having an affair off the job. This fall, a woman in Alabama lost her job for refusing to remove a John Kerry (news - web sites) bumper sticker from her car. (She was later hired by the Kerry campaign.)

Sugarman, of the University of California, says big employers may shy away from "paternalistic behavior," such as banning smoking outside of work, because it could make it more difficult to recruit and retain workers. Union Pacific says it will allow some exceptions to its policy. The company will hire a smoker if it cannot find another suitable applicant, a company spokeswoman says.

Michael Halpern, a physician and health researcher at Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Exponent Inc., has studied smoking-related costs for employers. His research suggests that smokers may have higher rates of absenteeism because they are more likely to suffer from upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. Also, smokers may be more likely to have less healthful lifestyles, such as poor diets and infrequent physical activity. Still, he recommends employers stick with positive incentives to entice smokers to quit.

"My feeling is that the data is just too limited to support" drastic moves such as firing, he says.

Cyranno DeBoberac
01-28-2005, 01:24 PM
Employers have recently tried every carrot they can think of — including cash incentives and iPods — to persuade employees to quit smoking.

If my company did something like that, I'd start smoking, then quit. :-)

Artemisia
01-28-2005, 01:52 PM
My daughter developed asthma after she started smoking (she's 21 started when she was 17) and she quit. Personally, I don't smoke and my husband is asthmatic. But to discriminate against those who smoke - which is legal? That's insane. Not because of the smoking, but because it is NOT illegal to smoke.

If companies get away with this, then it won't stop. We will be checked for high cholesterol, being overweight, etc - it's just the tip of the iceberg, which is why I don't think they will get away with it.

Yes, I pay higher health insurance premiums because of smokers in my workplace. But almost all of them have said if they could really stop smoking for good, they would - and I honestly believe them. Most smokers at my workplace agree it's a nasty habit they wish they could kick.

The only reasonable solution is education, which is how my daughter quit. She saw the commercials for TRUTH (http://www.thetruth.com) and they hit home. Hopefully continuing education about the cons of smoking will help future generations.

Lady Laurel
01-28-2005, 02:20 PM
I too am asthmatic have been since I was 3 years old. My father stopped smoking two packs a day when I diagnosed. He never picked them up again.
I think it is another way that our rights are slowly being taking away from us or twisted to be something else. When I was working for the County ( last year) they would look at the site for the state to see what laws that were voted in and such. We came to the conclusion that we are slowly loosing are rights.

This will just be another one that in the jist off things will be twisted by our govenment and insurance companies.
I am not just saying smoking but it could have been anything just think about it. Houston Texas is considered one of the fatest ( sorry I did not mean to offened with the word, I am going by what I heard on the news ) cities in the country. What if they decide that you can consume only certain amounts of sugar otherwise it too could be deadly for some. _ hypothetical I know but to me it could be kinda scary-

Dmitri
01-28-2005, 03:19 PM
Frankly, fuck smokers... It's a habit that can effect me... and if you reek that effects me... as a business owner don't smell like an ashtray and smoke in the buildling and we're fine... Otherwise fuck off...

Emrld
01-28-2005, 03:23 PM
One thing I did notice when I smoked is that not all smokers are tiny people. In fact my friends that I smoked with (myself included) did not take care of ourselves on more than just a smoking level. We loved fast food / fried food and sitting around, drikning and being lazy. Also deppresion was a factor at different times. So it was more than just smoking that gave us poor health.
Until they do a controled study where just one of those factors is at play at a time to determine what is causing the poor health issue or the out sick all the time.
I don't buy that it is the effect on the Health Insurance
Depression is a big factor in that. If someone is not happy with their job they will want to take sick days and can cause themselves to become ill . . . . .
I hate that somone makes a choice that they personally don't enjoy something and then have to force it on everyone else.
If it isn't illegal then they shouldn't be able to dictate the full 24/7 of a person druing employment.

Artemisia
01-28-2005, 03:36 PM
Thankfully I don't have to endure smoke on my person. My workplace is smoke-free (it is now illegal to smoke inside the workplace), the lunchroom is smokefree, retails stores are smoke-free and even the clubs I go to in the evenings are now smoke-free in New York.

I did hate it when I had to endure the 2nd hand smoke - and now it's illegal to smoke in public places due to non-smokers speaking up for themselves.

Nevada
01-28-2005, 06:18 PM
I also hear the NY is trying to go scent free in many places....I don't smoke my other half does...should businesses be smoke free...probably due to asthmatics and others sensitive to the fumes...however shouldnt what people do on their off time as long as it's legal be their business and not endanger their employment status...with the current lawsuits being brought up again against fast foods places is being obese next? I think the question is, is where does it stop? Do I wish he would stop smoking...yes...and eventually he will...he is well aware of the health concerns...most smokers are..but inevitably a persons health is their business...there are plenty of diabetics who disregard their disease. Are we going to start monitoring what they eat and if they are taking their meds so that the insurance co. arent getting hit for costs and passing it on to the employers? okay..off soap box now...

Emrld
01-29-2005, 02:28 PM
and if the concern is about health insurance when will pregnancy become an issue. . . .or even children for that matter.
The cost for all of the Doctor visit and tests for my nephews first year of life where more than adding up sick days and docor visits when I did smoke for any given year.
Again I still say this is based on some person on an ego trip feeling like they know what is best and for some stupid reason they think if they say if you smoke you don't get to work will motivate someone to quit.
IT DOESN"T WORK THAT WAY. A person has to truly be ready in their own mind to make the change.

As for 2nd hand effecting you - there is major controversy over those studies being done right in the first place. The effect is not as extreme as originally thought. (Asthma is a real issue and that statement is not amied at asthmatics)
Also, no one is forcing you to be in an area where people are smoking. When I was ready to quit I had to find things to do where smoking was not allowed and that I did not associate with smoking. If you hate 2nd hand smoke so much go places that don't allow it. If your favorite bar /pub/ hang out allows smoking and you hate that talk to the managmanet about making it non smoking. If enough consumers complain and threaten to take their business elsewhere they might make a change.

saphoenixsilver
01-29-2005, 07:00 PM
I am a smoker, and everyone is right when they say that you won't quit until YOU are mentally ready. Also, yes a company has the right to request that you do not smoke in their building, or even on their premisis while you are working, but in my home, or my car on my time, they have no right to dictate what I do unless it is illegal or dangerous. (Like drinking before I go to work or even within a time period befor work like 24 hours) I do try to respect others, I have friends who do not smoke, and when they get in my vehicle, I ask before I light up if they say no i wait. If they say yes, down goes the window so that they don't have to be trapped with it. Also if I am in public, I try to get away from others so that I do not offend them. When I am at faire, I normally camp with my best friend and her family. Her family does not smoke, so I walk away, normally over by my car to smoke. Some smokers do have respect for those who do not, and to try to dictate what we can do and how we live our lives is unfair. It makes me glad that I have a really cool boss who doesn't mind as long as I don't take too many breaks. When it comes to my health insurance, I have a couple of things going against me, I smoke, I'm overweight with a high family history of cancers and heart problems, and I'm asthmatic (Yes i know smoking and asthma don't typically go together) and although I have these problems I rarely see my doctor, infact I have more problems with my arthritis then with colds, flus and the like. As for the nicotine tests, when did smoking ciggaretts become illegal, it was still legal yesterday when I bought a couple of packs. Anyway, enough of my rant.

Psyche
01-29-2005, 09:14 PM
Also, no one is forcing you to be in an area where people are smoking.
Yes, I could stay in my house where I am assured that I will not have to deal with smokers blowing smoke in my face while walking on the sidewalk and parking lot, or being forced to run the gauntlet of shopping center employees on their smoke break standing outside on the walkways or in front of the front door.

Walking through that cloud of smoke is enough to set off a 3 day migraine. You do not know how many times I have called and complained to management because of how their employees were acting on their smoke breaks.

The problem is many (not all) smokers have no respect for anyone else. They think only of themselves and getting their fix. It is all about them and "their rights". They do not seem to comprehend that their "rights" end the moment they infringe on someone else's rights.


I LOVE the fact that the county I live in went smoke-free in restaurants. I can not wait until the bars go smoke-free too, then I will be able to go to a bar and catch some of my favorite performers. (Countless performers I know complain about the same thing. I had to stop singing in bars and pubs due to the smoke screwing with my voice and ability to breath.) As it is now, I cannot go into a pub or bar, because people don't seem to care where the poison they are blowing out is going. And to me and many many others, it IS poison.

I quite honestly do not think anyone should HAVE to be subjected to someone else's dirty habit in public. One can smoke all one wants, when it does not infringe on everyone else's right to breath. Breathing is necessary to live. Smoking is not.

Foxglove2660
01-30-2005, 01:30 PM
I really don't care what anyone does, so long as I am not effected in a negative fashion.

Unfortunately, chemical fragrance and second hand smoke cause me intense pain. :ow:

Maybe the tumor in the olfactory lobe of my brain has something to do with that... maybe it's just my sinuses. It really doesn't matter as there is nothing I can do about either. :sigh:

Where I work, there are designated smoking areas that do not block the doors to the building. That's nice, but it doesn't stop the migraine triggered by sharing an elevator with a coworker just in off a smoke break. :yuck:

It's nice that most smokers try to be courteous about their habit, but that doesn't stop the migraines they trigger or reduce how much it hurts.

I avoid what I can and suffer when I can't. That's how it is. :sigh:

Drea Beth
01-30-2005, 02:59 PM
I quite honestly do not think anyone should HAVE to be subjected to someone else's dirty habit in public. One can smoke all one wants, when it does not infringe on everyone else's right to breath. Breathing is necessary to live. Smoking is not.

Wearing perfume isn't necessary either. I'm probaby the odd one here, but I would rather sit next to a chain smoker than be subjected to someone's "eu de allergin". Cigarette smoke doesn't bother me at all, but perfume can leave me gasping for air, outside and using an inhaler.

While I can understand why an employer would want to totally ban the use of cigarettes, I really don't think it's within their right to tell you what you can and can not do during off hours. It's scarey to think about... Where does it end?

biker
01-30-2005, 05:40 PM
Scent free areas?? One of the things I loathe is going thruough Penney's macy's etc, walking by the perfume counter has It's always right next to the door and sets off a huge allegery attack for a few hours. To me that's just has offensive has when a perosn comes back in from smoking.

Psyche
01-30-2005, 07:38 PM
Wearing perfume isn't necessary either.
Oh I quite agree. I know many who get instant migraines from other's fragrances. I do if the scent is excessive. (yes, I know what is excessive for me may not be for another)

My husband and I avoid the fragrance section at department stores like the plague. Admittingly, they used to be much worse than they are now. It used to be very common to see am employee spray the scent right in front of you as you were walking, or even grab a wrist and spray it on without permission. Lawsuits stopped that practice for the most part. (And it is unfortunate that it took lawsuits for their practices to change but sometimes they just do not 'get it' until it hurts their pocketbook.)

Right after I was diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, I went to the mall. Some nitwit grabbed my wrist and sprayed perfume on me without asking my permission. I screamed bloody murder. I literally had blisters popping up on my arm and hit Insta-Migraine mode so bad I passed out and they had to call an ambulance for me and take me to the hospital. The police charged her with assault (I did not request it). You better believe that store stopped that practice.

Lady Laurel
01-31-2005, 11:21 AM
Wearing perfume isn't necessary either


My syster is highly highly allergic to perfumes. ( she can only wear musk). Her co workers that she has worked with for years have since stopped wearing perfume for her sake. She will double over throwing up and have horrible migranes.

What she found to be best is perfume body lotions. ( only some off them) she buys alot off body products that have a scent that is soft. That is what I wear now. I feel like if Renee ( my syster ) has this problem , there are alot other people out there who are the same

Lady Laurel
01-31-2005, 11:21 AM
Wearing perfume isn't necessary either


My syster is highly highly allergic to perfumes. ( she can only wear musk). Her co workers that she has worked with for years have since stopped wearing perfume for her sake. She will double over throwing up and have horrible migranes.

What she found to be best is perfume body lotions. ( only some off them) she buys alot off body products that have a scent that is soft. That is what I wear now. I feel like if Renee ( my syster ) has this problem , there are alot other people out there who are the same