I'm not a tobacco user, but its starting to get a little, shall we say "draconian" out there for those who smoke.
Geisinger Health System in central Pennsylvania announced this week that it will test all new job applicants for nicotine use beginning in February, and those who test positive will not be hired. Then, beginning in 2013, the Geisinger's health insurance arm will charge a higher premium for current employees who acknowledge that they smoke or chew tobacco.
No smoking on the employer's premises? Fine. Higher health premiums for tobacco users? That's fine as well, but there is something wrong in my mind with refusing to hire an otherwise qualified applicant who engages in a legal activity on their own time.
It goes beyond hiring though. Living in a civilized society, we oftentimes need to make compromises in order to get along. For example, when PNC Park first opened, smoking was not permitted in the stands. If you wanted to smoke, you had to go out to the concourses. That was , in my mind, a reasonable compromise. No tobacco smoke in the closer confines of the seating area, and if wanted to light up, you were in an area with some cross ventilation. But now smoking isn't permitted ANYWHERE which seems pretty unreasonable since the ballpark is essentially outside.
I don't particularly care for the smell of smoke, but I'm willing to make compromises with smokers in the interest of living in harmony. Refusing to hire someone for what they do on their own time is rather unamerican to me. It seems that compromise, in many matters, is a quaint concept that belongs increasingly to an earlier time.