Progress in the European Union

Tobacco Smoking is the greatest drug plague facing humanity at this time. Tobacco Smoking affects not only the smoker, but anyone around who must deal with second hand smoke or the presence of a person wreaking from its recent consumption. It is perfectly rational that employers should be able to have employment policies which deny jobs to smokers just as heroin and methamphetamine addicts may similarly be denied jobs. I applaud the European Commission's recent decision in this regard.


Candide said...

I agree that nicotine is the most dangerous drug facing humanity, and strongly support efforts to curtail its use, particularly in public and/or work spaces. I have to disagree, however, with the assertion that a nicotine addiction should be as much of a hiring deterrent as an heroin addiction. First of all, smoking does not impair a person's ability to perform their job any more than surfing the internet does (in fact, it improves memory function). Secondly, we live in a society that continues to subliminally encourage smoking (largely because of powerful tobacco lobbies), and therefore smoking remains legal.

If we, as a society, did as much to discourage nicotine use as we do to discourage heroin use, then the comparison would be more apt. As it stands, people are subtly encouraged to smoke but are then punished for it, which hardly seems fair.

For those who haven't seen it, The Insider is a good movie about the tobacco industry. Thank You for Smoking is fun to watch, but I think has less substance.

As a former smoker, I can attest to the fact that many smokers are ashamed of their habit, embarrassed by the way they smell, and try to avoid putting others in the way of their secondhand smoke. Nicotine addiction is a very serious affliction, and should be treated as such, rather than dismissed and/or ridiculed.

Pace said...
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Pace said...

Knowing many smokers and simply reading the statistics, it is clear that nicotine is a terrible affliction and an extremely difficult addiction to break. It leaves lifelong scars on the brain which makes it easy to relapse, and the earlier a person starts smoking the harder it is to quit. Nicotine, besides being addicting, is otherwise a fairly benign and even beneficial medicine. It is the method of injestion, i.e. smoking with benzene, carbon monoxide etc. that make it so detrimental to health.

My argument was that employers should be legally permitted to discriminate for tobacco consumption. I agree that having a policy of not hiring workers who smoke outside of the workplace is a bad idea for any employer especially if that employer does not pay health insurance. Not hiring meat eater should even be permissible because of how it reflects on moral character. Most employers in Europe would find they had no employees if they used either of these criteria, but it should still be legal under a liberal economic system.

With regards to heroin, being strung out at work is not good for productivity, but from my understanding, most serious heroin addicts can live full normal and healthy lives so long as their brains receive their regular dosage of heroin and many are even incapable of being strung out anymore without risking a lethal dose, they simply need heroin to function. Personally, I would hire such a worker as long as they were productive and I did not pay their health insurance.

Candide said...

I wouldn't say that nicotine is solely dangerous due to the method of injestion. In isolation it has been implicated as a carcinogen, and in larger quantities it is used as an insecticide. In fact, it is the tobacco plant's natural form of insecticide. Some information about nicotine can be found here, attached to a very good quit smoking website (whyquit.com).