Call for rethink of trend to bar smokers from employment
Two children have a seizure. One child never has another seizure. Twenty years later, the other child has a series of seizures and is diagnosed with epilepsy. A study being led by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is looking at what could possibly happen in the development of these two children that would lead
Full Post: New understanding of seizure behaviors and epilepsy
The increasing trend for employers, particularly in the U.S., to bar smokers from applying for jobs or staying in post should be stopped, until the appropriateness of such policies has been properly evaluated, argue experts in an essay published in Tobacco Control.
As of August 2008, 21 US states, 400 U.S. cities, nine Canadian provinces, six Australian states/territories, and 14 other countries, including the UK, had banned smoking in workplaces, bars, and restaurants.
But in recent years, smoke free workplaces have shifted to “smoker-free workplaces,” with some companies even stating “tobacco free candidates only” in their employment policies.
The World Health Organization has barred smokers from employment since 2005, and the National Cancer Institute encourages the preferential hiring of non-smokers.
But it’s not just health related organisations who maintain this policy. Weyco Inc, a US employee benefits company, stopped hiring smokers in 2003. It has also made smoking outside work a sackable offence, and recently extended that rule to employees’ spouses.
These policies aim to cut cigarette consumption, by promoting the need to quit and by making smoking less socially acceptable, say the authors from the Universities of Washington and Boston.
The evidence backs them up. And there is also some evidence to suggest that these policies could boost productivity and reduce absenteeism, they add.
But quite apart from infringements of personal privacy and individual rights, smokers who are sacked or forced to resign many not be able to find other work, which in itself could have a seriously detrimental impact on their and their families’ health, contend the authors.
Smokers will also be unjustly discriminated against in a way that people who risk their health by drinking or eating too much, and exercising too little, are not.
And it may also prompt a shift in thinking about these other behaviours as well, the authors suggest, citing Clarian Health in Indianapolis, which has already pledged to sack employees who smoke, are obese, and whose blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels are unhealthily high.
The authors call for a much wider public health debate, and for proper evaluation of these policies, on the grounds that “the potential unintended side effects.. could be far reaching.”
The evidence for and against must be carefully weighed up, “to ensure we are addressing the fundamental determinants of tobacco use and reducing related health disparities,” they warn.
Smokers determined to quit the habit have been advised to wait until after the New Year before finally butting out. According to Quit, an organisation which offers help to smokers who want to stop, smokers intent on making a New Year’s resolution to knock the habit on the head should hold off for two
Full Post: Smokers advised to wait until after New Year to quit
How about the fact that even if you choose to smoke outside of your home or only smoke in your home when your children are not there - thinking that you’re keeping them away from second-hand smoke - you’re still exposing them to toxins? In the January issue of Pediatrics , researchers at MassGeneral Hospital for
Full Post: Need another reason to add “Quit Smoking” to your New Year’s resolutions list?
The association between tobacco smoke and cancer deaths - beyond lung cancer deaths - has been strengthened by a recent study from a UC Davis researcher, suggesting that increased tobacco control efforts could save more lives than previously estimated. The epidemiological analysis, published online in BMC Cancer, linked smoking to more than 70 percent of the cancer
Full Post: Study links smoking with most male cancer deaths
Cancer Research UK has sent an urgent plea to the Government today - calling for politicians to protect children and young people from tobacco advertising - to stop tobacco taking even more lives. Cancer Research UK has sent an urgent plea to the Government today - calling for politicians to protect children and young
Full Post: Keep tobacco out of sight of children, say Cancer Research UK
An analysis of previous studies indicates that smoking is significantly associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer and death, according to an article in the December 17 issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. Although tobacco was responsible for approximately 5.4 million deaths in 2005, there are still an estimated 1.3
Full Post: Smoking significantly linked to increased risk for colorectal cancer