Hiring Practices Discriminate Against Smokers At Baylor
    By Hank Campbell | September 25th 2011 02:00 PM | 9 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    Opponents of nationalized health care have been concerned about a slippery slope of preexisting conditions that would create a ghetto for people that are culturally unfashionable.

    Employers burdened with mandated health insurance by the federal government will think about yet another cost when it comes hiring time; a history of illness?  No job.  Obese?  No job.  And the only solution to that would be even more government employees investigating companies for hiring discrimination.   The Baylor Health Care System is already doing it.  If there is any evidence you use any tobacco product of any kind, you are not getting hired.

    The FDA, which has gone out of its way to demonize smoking with trumped up data, is now helping rationalize discrimination.  They claim smoking "costs $200 billion a year", though it's the same sort of fuzzy math that led the current administration to claims 'jobs saved' as success for a stimulus package even though there was no evidence the jobs saved were in jeopardy, or record companies who claimed any downloaded song was someone who would have bought a crappy Mariah Carey CD.

    Baylor says they are doing it for America. 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.”

    So if you are a real American, you will discriminate against anyone who may hurt your profits?  That will revolutionize labor law.  Things like race, gender, ethnicity or national origin can't be a factor when hiring an employee, but if fuzzier metrics can, fat people had better watch out - according to similar made-up numbers from the CDC, obesity costs employers $147 billion a year.

    Comments

    "The FDA, which has gone out of its way to demonize smoking with trumped up data..." When you make nonsensical statements, like that one, in an article that you write, your whole article becomes nonsensical and invalid!

    Hank
    What is nonsensical about it?   If you think "third hand smoke" is valid science, then you are educated by advertising.  In that context, actual non-agenda-based science might seem nonsensical and invalid but it is usually only people who want to believe anything about their pet cause who buy it.
    Baylor Health Care is a health care company. This policy makes sense.

    Hank
    Only if they also discriminate against people who eat meat, drink alcohol, drive motorcycles and own a pool.  If it is not related to the job, you can't refuse to hire qualified people.  Insert black or female in that argument and you can see why. Being a health provider does not mean they get to use a different standard than the rest of the country.

    You can argue that there should be no legal standard for any hiring, of course.  Let the free market reign and all that.

    Aside from it being illegal, it shows the downside to the current health care reform act.  All a company has to do is create a 'policy' and they shuffle off the most expensive health care to taxpayers because any company can now use discrimination in hiring regard of a person - so potentially expensive employees will never be hired at all which means they are ghetto-ized.  Plus, if they can call smoking a preexisting condition, despite there only being a 10% chance they will get lung cancer, they can call diabetes or cancer or almost any behavior the same thing.
    Eating meat, drinking alcohol, driving motorcycles and owning a pool can all be done healthfully in moderation, while smoking cannot. Smoking IS related, and directly counter-productive, to the job.

    Perhaps the part that bothers me about this article is that this is an inherently political argument with the veneer of being about science. Science 2.0 is a really great site, I don't want it to get politicized.

    Hank
    Thank you for the kind words.  This is in the "links" section, not an article on Science 2.0 proper, so it is more opinion than an article would be.   Yes, I am against discrimination and prejudice and that shows in my verbage.  My overall point was that you can't legally discriminate against 30% of the population because they happen to be unfashionable.  We can't not hire someone because they are bisexual or hispanic either.   50% of lung cancer patients never smoked and only 10% of smokers get lung cancer so declaring a lifestyle choice as being a disqualification (it is not a health or science-based one) means they can disqualify motorcycle riders or even people who go to Renaissance Faires if a metric shows 10% of them need higher health care costs.   The law protects people equally and there is no evidence a smoker is less competent as a janitor or anything else than a non-smoker, and those are the only legal determining factors.
    While society is working hard on erasing all trace of discrimination based on all other features (race, language, religion, etc.), discrimination against smokers has become a normal and natural way to be for society.
    A smoker friend of mine is late 30s. She had her first smoke at age 11. She had no idea tobacco was unhealthy or addictive because little information was accessible to 11 year-olds about this in the 80s. Today, she truly and deeply wants and tries to quit, but the addiction holds her brain hostage. She is not the bad guy like society presents smokers: she’s a victim
    Yes. The truth is that smokers are only victims of one of the most addictive drug known, nicotine, and victims of how it’s an accessible and legal drug. It’s similar to having heroin legal, and sold at an affordable price at every corner store.
    Any smoker who say they ”enjoy” smoking only say that because they are unaware of having been manipulated through nicotine and having had their brains be addicted to this drug. Tobacco kills people, and nicotine makes tobacco addictive. And, all this is legal. If Mc Donalds was to start putting nicotine in their burgers, people would be addicted after 1 burger. They would then need to eat an increasing amount them without limit, and 95% of the North American’s population who ate 1 burger would die of extreme obesity. That is how addictive nicotine is. Yet, government and society choose to keep nicotine legal. And, it’s sold at the corner store. On the other hand, the victims of nicotine, the smokers, are restricted to the extreme as well as discriminated against, by the same society that allows tobacco to be legal. See any contradiction!?! I am not even a smoker and I can see how the way society treats smokers is unfair and blown out of proportion. The smokers are the victims. The enemies are the tobacco companies and whoever participated to the decision that nicotine was going to be legal (government? society?). Either society keeps it legal and stops restricting smokers and presenting them as evil, or, society makes tobacco, or nicotine, illegal as a whole, and stop selling it.
    But that hasn’t happened yet because society makes too much money off of smokers. As much as society vilifies smokers, if all smokers stopped tomorrow, the whole world would change. There would be a huge hole in the government budget, and all of us non-smokers would have a huge taxes increase to pay to the government. So all of us non-smokers need to be careful what we wish for! In the hope to maintain those revenues, the government and the tobacco companies manipulate you (society) into thinking that the smoker is the enemy. It’s a way to draw your attention to the ‘bad’ smokers, so that you don’t see the conspiracy they are maintaining to keep their own pockets full.
    Rise up people!!! Don’t let yourself be manipulated away from the truth!!!

    Hank
    I think you make a fine point that smokers are pawns in a culture war but
    She had no idea tobacco was unhealthy or addictive because little information was accessible to 11 year-olds about this in the 80s.
    is a ridiculous assertion. Cigarettes have had warning labels since 1965 and at age 12, most kids can take a loaded gun and go into the woods and kill things.  Claiming an 11-year-old had no knowledge cigarettes were harmful is silly.
    Gerhard Adam
    That is how addictive nicotine is.
    Sorry, but that's just a myth.  There's no question that nicotine is highly addictive, but it's equally true that no one smokes without having initially gotten sick from it. 

    I don't know any smoker that didn't have to make a bit of an effort to become one.
    Mundus vult decipi