St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, says it won't hire smokers ever again. Candidates for jobs will take nicotine tests... and if they fail, they're out.
Doesn't matter if they only smoke at home, at night, on weekends or once a month at Uncle Al's barbecue -- if they have nicotine in the system, they're not allowed in the St. Luke's system.
The saddest part is that this isn't the first time it's happened... and I'll bet my best cigar that it won't be the last. (Read, "Hospital tells tobacco users: You can't work here.")
Let's think about this for a minute.
Imagine companies that refused to hire blacks, fired all the Asians or told gays to go elsewhere. The media would go to town on them, and the Justice Department would have these people in court faster than you can empty an ashtray.
Not smokers. Smokers have no rights... even when they only smoke in their own homes. Left and right (but mostly left) they're being banned from honest work.
Companies say smokers cost more because they boost the price of health insurance for everyone. Yet they wouldn't dare fire all the fat people, despite the fact that obesity is a much bigger burden on the health care system.
It's time to either end discrimination -- or just bring it all back. If it's OK to send smokers packing, then it should be fine to refuse to hire blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Irish, the handicapped and heterochromiacs.
One or the other -- take your pick. But you can't have it both ways.
A fighter for the lighter,
William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.