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Discussion Starter #1
First off, let me say I don't smoke, but I did in high school and a little in my 20s. This is one of those "It doesn't effect me" type of issues, but I know one day we will all be effected by this kind of scrutiny. Some day soon, everything from health records to DNA tests will become a part of the screening process so companies can discriminate in attempts to finding the "perfect" employee. Already, companies have access to your credit and other sensitive material to weed out potential bad hires.

http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050124/NEWS01/501240323/1001/news04

OKEMOS - Four employees of Okemos-based health benefits administrator Weyco Inc. have been fired for refusing to take a test that would determine whether they smoke cigarettes.

The company instituted a policy on Jan. 1 that makes it a firing offense to smoke - even if done after business hours or at home.

Weyco founder Howard Weyers said previously that he instituted the tough anti-smoking rule to shield his company from high health care costs.

"I don't want to pay for the results of smoking," he said.

The anti-smoking rule led one employee to quit work before the policy went into place.

Since Jan. 1, four more people were shown the door when they balked at the anti-smoking test.

"They were terminated at that point," said Chief Financial Officer Gary Climes.

Even so, Weyco said, the policy has been successful.

Climes estimated that about 18 to 20 of the company's 200 employers were smokers when the policy was announced in 2003.

Of those, as many as 14 quit smoking before the policy went into place.

Weyco offered them smoking cessation help, Climes said.

"That is absolutely a victory," Climes said.
Real nice.
 

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WTH, that is crazy!! Drug test, understandle but smoking cigarettes. I mean so many people I know smoke, it's not even funny. This is crazy to me :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, but down the road is the real problem. Smoking today, what tomorrow? It's already known that life insurance companies want DNA testing as a standard to avoid those who "might" be at higher risk for cancer and other diseases. The day will come when everything you do will be under a microscope and determined a liability to those who loan you money, give you a job, and who knows what else. It started with drug testing, a controversial issue, yet one where the law backs up the issue of illegal substance use. The smoking issue is one that is discriminatory for the fact that cigarettes are legal. I agree that not covering their medical costs is a very valid point, but again, does fast food, alcohol consumption, and any other "unhealthy" activity become a concern for these people as well? It sounds ridiculous, but it's a possibility.
 

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What people do on their own time is their own business, as long as it doesn't affect their performance on the job. So, it kinda depends on the thing done, and the job requirements.

There's no easy answer on this. Spike's solution sounds good, but it's not always easy to just not cover smoking-related health costs, because some of those medical problems could have other causes. Another solution that sounds good would be to rate health insurance for risk factors, but then you have the privacy issue to deal with. Plus, the whole idea of insurance is to spread the risk.

I think, in the end, what companies are moving towards is requiring employees to pay a portion of their insurance. Then, if they engage in practices that drive up the cost of premiums, it comes out of their own pocket. But then you penalize everybody for the actions of a few.

If somebody can figure out an answer that would everybody happy, they deserve some kind of prize!
 

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We recently changed our smoking policy at work. Now you can only smoke on your clocked-out lunch breaks, off the property. Not in your car in the parkinglot (like a ton of people were doing when they first changed it).

I had mentioned it to my mom, and she said an uncle of hers or someone worked for a company that did something similar to what the above company did. Except they put notice, then got everyone who smoked into a program to help them quit and after a certain period of time, anyone who smoked (on or off property) was told to find a new job.

At first I didn't agree AT ALL, because honestly what you do at your home on your own time is YOUR business. Then she explained the logic behind it. Smokers tend to get sick more and take more sick days off, use the health insurance more, and when smoking is permitted at work they take more breaks and are less productive. Basically, it was costing him more money to have smokers work for him than it was to put them through the program and keep only nonsmokers.

I'll admit that if I worked someone for say 20 years and all of a sudden was forced out of a job for smoking, I'd be really upset. So I can go either way on this issue. But it IS up to the employer to decide who he wants working for him, because he's the one that signs the checks.
 

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It's here -- 1984. When I was on the job hunt in 2003, I turned down one job because they didn't allow smoking before, during, or after work. I don't even smoke! I just thought if they were going to be strict on something like that, what else will they be weird about? Then I saw the job posted again about six months after I turned it down, so I figured it wasn't just me -- someone else took it and thought they were weird too.

I think the bigger problem with this, though, is the insurance companies -- it is really sad that people can be declined health insurance because they've actually had to use their insurance. Sure, smoking causes health problems, but people that go to health clubs can be permanently injured if they hurt their back lifting weights.

And I'd pay a portion of my health insurance any day over having to pay for it all out of pocket -- anyone else ever been turned down by an insurance company? Or have to pay outrages premiums for a pre-existing condition?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I can't say. Most of the time you don't get the inside scoop if they turn you down, they give you a BS reason. Just depends. My friend has psoriasis and can't get life insurance from any decent company because of it. They always claim the medicine he has to take (e.g., steroid topicals) is a risk to his health so therefore he's a risk. His wife is on disability because she has a rare form of MS. He's a musician who plays music for eldery people at ball room dances and stuff. A real hard working guy who has so much on his shoulders, between doing all the yard work, certain household chores she can't do, working crazy hours, and so on. They have a 13 year old daughter, so if he were to get killed, his wife and daughter would be screwed.
 

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timskitties said:
Not being allowed to smoke in your own car is really going too far. Your car is your own property.
I agree, but when its in the parking lot at work, its ON their property. Plus, people were just congregating in groups in the parking lot which looked even worse than one or two out back or on the side of the hospital.

Apparently customers were complaining. I don't know what specifically they saw or didn't like, but a few of the surveys we sent home had comments like "the tech was great, but she smokes!" so I guess people came into rooms smelling like smoke.
 

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This is certainly the information age, isn't it? There are privacy policies at hospitals and companies, but if you read the fine print, they might as well not be there! Our private lives seem to be everyone's business now.

I used to smoke, and it definitely is a health hazard. I would advise anyone who asked me to stop, and tell them how I finally did it. However, I too think your car is your own property. Any gas released from anywhere, cologne vapors, gasoline vapors, and cigaret smoke are spread around the atmosphere in equal amounts. In other words, it doesn't matter whether you are on company property or not, an equal amount of those vapors will be in the atmosphere there and in China. (High school chemistry is the source of my information.) And compared to the smoke from one fireplace, that amount is infinitessimal.
 

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that's true. but your exposed to more smoke if you work at a resturant that allows smoking, or are required to be around people who are smoking. plus, second hand is more dangerous than first hand because there's no filter.
 

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Hippyhart said:
And I'd pay a portion of my health insurance any day over having to pay for it all out of pocket -- anyone else ever been turned down by an insurance company? Or have to pay outrages premiums for a pre-existing condition?
Sure. I was once turned down for a group health insurance plan because I had seen an endocrinoligist about 6 months earlier...there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, as it turned out, but even repeated phone calls from the doctor I'd gone to didn't help. No insurance...I haven't had insurance for most of my life.

Because I'm self-employed, I can only afford catastrophic care-type health insurance, so I pay almost everything out-of-pocket...the insurance will kick in after I spend $20,000 out-of-pocket in a calendar year...and I still pay over $350 a month for that policy, which is the absolute rock-bottom range policy where I live. I may bump my deductible up to $30K this year to see if I can bring the premium down. One of my vendors has a two-person HMO plan for her and her husband, and they pay almost $1500 a month for it. 8O (their mortgage payment is $1200) I think that people ought to be paying MORE of their health care costs out-of-pocket, because it sure would be a wake-up call and people might start taking a little more active role in their health care and weeding out the unnecessary stuff. My best friend had some minor esophogeal reflux a few years ago and the doctor just handed her a prescription for Prilosec that cost something like $300 a month, when there was a different drug that would likely have worked as well...in the end, I told her some lifestyle adjustments to make, which fixed the problem, no Prilosec needed (I also diagnosed her thyroid problem that day, which really annoyed her doctor).

Sure, smokers may take more sick days...so do people who have kids, but I haven't seen anyone banning THAT lately. :?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah, my friend I mentioned above is self-employed, and his insurance is the worst. Because of his pre-existing condition he can't get a good insurance so he's stuck with some state funded HMO. I don't really understand how it works, but it isn't medicaid. Medicaid, ACHHHC in Az, would cover things he can't get with his expensive insurance. This newer drug, Enbrel (etanercept), is what he hasn't tried out of all the newer stuff and would probably work, but it's too exensive and his HMO won't cover it.

Medicine no longer cares about the people who need treatment. It's pure greed.
 
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