published Monday, January 18th, 2010

Smokers need not apply for a job

Memorial carves out plan to emphasize health focus


by Emily Bregel
Audio clip

Brad Pope

As if higher tobacco taxes, steeper health insurance premiums and smoke-free workplaces weren’t enough, tobacco users have one more financial incentive to kick the habit — missed job opportunities.

Starting Feb. 1, Memorial Hospital no longer will hire people who use tobacco products, making the hospital one of a small number of employers nationwide that consider smoking status in job applicants.

Under the new rule, which does not affect current Memorial employees, those offered employment at the hospital will be tested for nicotine during their required drug test, a human resources officer said. Even nicotine gum or the patch would make a potential employee ineligible.

The decision not to hire tobacco users isn’t based on potential savings in health care costs, but rather is an extension of the hospital’s commitment to health, said Brad Pope, vice president of human resources. Like all hospitals in the region, Memorial’s entire hospital campus is tobacco-free.

“I understand the concerns people have, but we are here for the health of our community,” he said. “Like it or not, what’s proven is that tobacco is the most preventable cause of death and disability in the United States. I think the Chattanooga and surrounding communities should expect this from Memorial.”

The practice of refusing employment to tobacco users began to crop up a few years ago and isn’t yet widespread, a tobacco control researcher said. Particularly in the deep South, and in a tobacco state such as Tennessee, it’s a bold move for Memorial, said pulmonologist Dr. Carlos Baleeiro, with Battlefield Pulmonology in Fort Oglethorpe

“It’s very brave of them,” he said. “I’m quite impressed by Memorial.”

Poll: Is it discriminatory for an employer to have a nonsmoking hiring policy?

SMOKER-FREE WORKPLACE

On Memorial Hospital’s Web site: “To further our mission of building healthier communities, effective February, 1, 2010, Memorial Health Care System will no longer hire individuals who use tobacco or nicotine products in any form. Memorial Health Care System and its affiliates recognize the major importance of associates’ health and well being, and the responsibility of maintaining a healthy and safe environment for all associates, volunteers, patients and visitors. Therefore, all individuals who are offered a position with Memorial Health Care System or any of its affiliates, are screened for illegal drug, alcohol, and/or tobacco/nicotine use as part of the post-offer health screening. Individuals whose post-offer health screening results are verified positive for illegal drugs, alcohol, and/or tobacco/nicotine use, and/or whose reference and/or background checks are verified unsatisfactory, will be disqualified from employment, their job offer will be withdrawn, and they may be disqualified from applying for employment for six months from the date of the post-offer health screening.”

KICK IT

* Tennessee quit line: 1-800-784-8669

* Georgia quit line: 1-877-270-STOP

A growing number of workplaces now deny employees the right to smoke anywhere on their campus, including outside. Policy prohibiting the hiring of tobacco users may be the future as the country develops a deepening social intolerance of smoking, said Jay Collum, coordinator of tobacco education and control at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department.

“Especially in a tobacco-growing state in the Southeast, this is a huge change in mindset and positioning, but we’re really behind the curve in our area,” he said.

For others, this step is a slippery slope. Some are concerned about the potential for hiring restrictions based on other unhealthy — but entirely legal — behaviors.

Tobacco-control researcher Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, said he’s an avid proponent of education on the dangers of tobacco use, but he believes policies about not hiring tobacco users amount to discrimination.

Twenty-six states have laws prohibiting such a policy, according to a report he co-wrote last year in the journal Tobacco Control.

“The same rationale that would support not hiring smokers would also support not hiring people who are obese or people who have young children or people who don’t eat nutritious food or people who don’t exercise,” he said. “What it’s basically saying is the private behavior of people in their own homes is somehow relevant to their qualifications to work in a workplace.”

Dr. Siegel worries that if many large employers refuse to hire smokers, tobacco users — those arguably in the greatest need of health care — will struggle to gain employment and health insurance.

“WON’T BE THE LAST”

For smoker Mike Sullivan, an ICU nurse at Memorial, the new rule doesn’t come as a surprise.

“They’re not the first company to do that, and they won’t be the last,” he said.

Mr. Sullivan has smoked on-and-off for more than 30 years, quitting countless times and always going back to the habit.

Mr. Sullivan, 53, said in less than two years he’ll be eligible for retirement, and he’d hoped to come back and work part time at Memorial after retiring. But now, that would mean he’d have to kick the habit for good.

“I really think it would be a good incentive” finally to quit, he said.

This year for the first time, new recruits for the Chattanooga Fire Department can’t be smokers, a decision the city hopes will bring both savings in insurance costs and improvement in firefighters’ health.

“The main thing is to keep a healthier employee. We get ’em for 25 to 30 years or longer, and we want them to be healthy throughout their life while they’re here, as well as when they retire,” said Chief Randy Parker.

  • photo
    Staff Photo by John Rawlston Michael Sullivan, a registered nurse in the medical intensive care unit at Memorial Hospital, fills out a patient’s chart.

Costs and productivity consideration have led many employers nationwide, including the Chattanooga Times Free Press, to raise health insurance premiums for employees who use tobacco products and experiment with other programs to encourage wellness and help workers quit using tobacco, said Ron Harr, senior vice president of human resources and public affairs for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

“There is absolutely an increased interest by our customers in anything they can do that makes their employee group healthier and reduces their insurance risk,” he said.

He had not heard of any other employers in the state actually ruling out smokers as job applicants, he said.

The average smoker costs his or her employer $2,500 to $4,000 more each year in health care costs, compared with a nonsmoker, said Cathy Taylor, assistant health commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health.

Nationally, smoking is responsible for an estimated $96 billion in direct medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity annually, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some are optimistic that there will be little resistance to heightened restrictions for smokers. When Hutcheson Medical Center’s campus went smoke-free last year, Dr. Baleeiro recalled that some were concerned about a negative backlash, but that never happened.

The same is true with Georgia’s partial smoking ban that passed in 2005, prohibiting smoking in most public places, he said. Tennessee passed a similar ban in 2007.

“They thought restaurants would go out of business; bars would close, and none of that happened,” he said. “I think (Memorial’s new rule) is going to be an interesting experiment to see how that’s going to be taken in the community.”

about Emily Bregel...

Health care reporter Emily Bregel has worked at the Chattanooga Times Free Press since July 2006. She previously covered banking and wrote for the Life section. Emily, a native of Baltimore, Md., earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Columbia University. She received a first-place award for feature writing from the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists’ Golden Press Card Contest for a 2009 article about a boy with a congenital heart defect. She ...

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bryseana said...

I'm a nonsmoker, but this new policy is a bit extreme and unfair. Smokers cost their employers more on insurance? What about extremely overweight employees? Will obesity be discriminated against in the future too? People need jobs right now and shouldn't have to worry about this. A nonsmoking employee may save a hospital money on insurance, but it could be doing the patients a disservice by not hiring someone based solely on his or her qualifications.

January 18, 2010 at 1:07 a.m.
pdrjunker said...

This is pure discrimination!! What about other habits such as prescription drug abuse,drinking alchol,etc..? I think there are other issues the American people should be concerned with besides smoking!!

January 18, 2010 at 3:19 a.m.
CADMAN1 said...

The next thing to follow will be a DNA test to determine what you are most likely to die from and how expensive it could be to take a chance and give you a job. That technology already exists.

January 18, 2010 at 7:01 a.m.
rolando said...

Why not DNA test all babies at birth to determine how much they will cost ObamaCare throughout their lives?

Same for all seniors who appear at their doors for treatment. [Oh, that's right, they already plan to do that. Never mind.]

Those babies who will become liabilities to the government and/or employers would be moved to the "Dirty Linen" closet to die a lonely death, surrounded only by other "defectives". Population control, gender-selection, Death Panels, and Eugenics all rolled into one big horrible ball.

All Congressmen/women, hospital executives and their families excepted, of course...they are too "special" to fall under their own edicts. [Not that they would ever use their own facilities anyway.]

/sarcasm off

Remind me to never, under any circumstances, allow myself to enter/visit/attend any Memorial facility in this or any other city -- no matter how urgent the need. Same goes for any other business that refuses employment based on a nicotine addiction. The same goes for any elected official who votes for/encourages any such practice.

January 18, 2010 at 7:29 a.m.
dl said...

What's next - being legally able to not hire the overweight?

January 18, 2010 at 7:30 a.m.
rolando said...

This is just the beginning, dl. Those who do not meet the "proper" ethnic background or vote a particular way are on the short list, too.

January 18, 2010 at 7:59 a.m.
redbearded said...

How about a DNA test to determine if the child is smart enough to be a productive member of society or a deadbeat?

January 18, 2010 at 8:48 a.m.
stroker385 said...

way to go you have lost my familys business,whats next over wieght, you drink a little,obama being a smoker needs to step up and put a stop to this.

January 18, 2010 at 8:51 a.m.
RiverRat84 said...

Why is it that discrimination is only applied when referring to race? What about sex discrimination, job discrimination, status discrimination.........on and on. So what is Memorial going to do if a female black/hispanic/asian nurse that smokes applies????????? And whats next?........are they not going to accept patients because they smoke????? If that employee that smokes on his/her own time away from Memorial's campus or any other employer for that matter, is the employee's business. I will not let an employer dictate to me what I do on my own time at my home............this is totally ridiculous, I know smoking is bad for you, but who is an employer to be dictator to what you do away from work???? If they want you to do what they want away from work too are they willing to pay 24/7 until the employee quits/ retires to "obey" their wishes??? I think not!!!!! What's next? will you have to have a certain type of haircut?, will you have to be Catholic? It's all absurd .........and it won't stop at just smokers!!

January 18, 2010 at 9:07 a.m.
Macallanlover said...

What a total facist this guy is. It is just another attempt to control people's lives and behavior by those who feel they "know best". We don't need additional intrusions into our private lives by government, employers, or those in power positions to push people around. I have friends who smoke and might apply there, I hope they do and sue these bullies to teach them a lesson.

The other comments about weight discrimination are right, they are coming it is just a matter of time. Remember when it began with smoking sections in New York City restaurants? Then NY imposed a "snack tax" and demanded special "sugar free" aisles in supermarkets. Now the Mayor of NYC wants to control your salt intake. Red meat control next? It is all the same, one person's choices being decided by someone else.

This isn't a health issue folks, it is fanatical people imposing their will on you. It never will end and should be fought now. In an emergency I will go to the nearest hospital but given a choice, my family will not choose Memorial any longer. Take America Back in 2010!

January 18, 2010 at 9:37 a.m.
Apairofeyes said...

I had something witty to say but I did not say it. Maybe it was a poem or something. Maybe someone can think of it. I have momentarily forgot it. My memory is awful. They came for the smokers...

and the smokers better quit. I value their hard work and realize that we are all human and life is stressful.

I'm watching this story and am curious to its outcome.

January 18, 2010 at 10:07 a.m.
hotdiggity said...

Wow, reading some of these posts here make me think I stepped into a liberal blog. People ranting against "discrimination", "extreme and unfair", etc.

Its simple. Once again insurance companies and other businesses have no problem discriminating if it will save them a buck. This is just another instance of cherry picking by insurance companies. The insurance companies have been backing this type of restrictions for years and encourages other businesses to support it.

When are we going to wake up and understand that big business is not interested in fairness or equality, but only the bottom line. Did we not learn anything from the ruthlessness of the financial institutes who almost ruined us? I firmly support capitalism but also realize you have to regulate companies to prevent this type of behavior.

Yes, it won't stop just at smokers unless people wake up and understand you will always have to regulate greed. Allow companies to conduct their business but regulate policies that are discriminatory.

Of course the easy route is to just blame it on Obama, LOL, instead of understanding we have to take back our country from these institutions who are destroying our country with their greedy, self serving policies.

But hey, I know that uttering the word "regulation" will send some people into a tizzy. But the truth is that lack of it has put us in this mess.

January 18, 2010 at 10:49 a.m.
abc13052 said...

I voted in the survey at the end of this story and the votes were almost evenly split.

How could anyone look at this and say it's not discriminatory?

There are plenty of overweight coffee drinkers working at the hospital. Being a Smoker, being Fat, or being Ugly, is the only thing people can discriminate against, today.

When they start testing for, and "outlawing", coffee and cheeseburgers, let me know. I'm sure you won't have to, because they'll be protesting in the streets.

January 18, 2010 at 11:05 a.m.
frumpster65 said...

I am a smoker....and yes while smoking is a nasty habit, it is also an addiction. I am all for incentives to help one quit. I am against "forcing" people to quit. It is discriminatory and those who dont see that are blinded. Heres a thought! Open clinics that offer incentives to live healthy,equipped with personal trainers for physical fitness and Nutritionists for healthy eating , and if the insurance companies would be cooperative they would put nicotine gum, the patches and chantix as a covered expense to motivate smokers to quit! Wouldnt that be a win-win combination? I wonder what Memorial is going to do for those employees that are smokers? Are they going to offer them incentives to quit?

January 18, 2010 at 11:39 a.m.
pbj said...

Congratulations Memorial Hospital for taking a stand where few are willing!

1) If someone doesn't have a job (therefore needing to apply at Memorial) how can they afford their expensive cigarettes? Joblessness/lack of finances is a great incentive to stop smoking, though unfortunately for those trapped in tobacco's vice, joblessness would make them stressed enough to crave smoking even more.

2) Even at places where smoking is banned, and the rules require smoking take place so many feet outside the entrance, you can still smell smoke when walking through the entrance...sometimes even if no one is visible. The smoke hangs around, and I for one do not enjoy breathing it in even for a brief moment. Ever been stuck in an elevator with someone who's been smoking? Does smelling them make you feel "healthy"? A hospital is a place where people are trying to get well...smelling smoke on an employee's clothing doesn't encourage rehabilitation, anymore than smelling B.O. or strong perfume on them would (I'm confident there are already employee rules in place regarding personal hygiene and strong perfumes in hospitals).

3)Hospitals have the right to hire people who fit into their own specific qualifications, just as any establishment does. For those claiming discrimination....would you want them to hire a brilliant surgeon who has a problem with drug or alcohol abuse? Or who is a pedophile or murderer? Sometimes what is done on your own time affects others in a negative way, and their point is that it ruins the health of the employee even if they smoke on their own time, and then they the employers pay for it in higher medical/insurance expenses. If someone can refrain from smoking for a full eight to twelve hour shift, they should be able to stop altogether. For those wondering where the discrimination will stop - there's a difference between someone born with a genetic disease and someone who willingly goes out and picks up a destructive habit. They're only "discriminating" against people who CHOOSE to cripple their own health. If you can't grasp that, then I fully expect to see you picketing the Girl Scouts because your boy isn't allowed to join...

As a non-smoker who had to endure years of second hand smoke in the work place, and as one who has watched dear friends die a horrible death because they smoked most of their lives, I laud any person or organization who tries to eliminate this ravaging and deadly habit. I would suggest to Memorial if they do not already do so, that they offer cessation programs and incentives to current or prospective employees who smoke. If a person wants to work in the health field, they should be willing to tackle their own health habits. Would you want a doctor who smokes to tell you to stop smoking for your own health's sake? Would his/her example encourage you to quit smoking?

Again... Congratulations to Memorial for taking a stand!

January 18, 2010 at 11:42 a.m.
ann said...

I think smokers have rights just like anyone else,and should be able to sue these places that discrminate a person just because they smoke,evey death from cancer is not because a person smokes,i dont see them working to get rid of drinkers,and more people are killed by it than anything else,i cannot belive how stupid people are to belive all these lies

January 18, 2010 at 12:06 p.m.
NavyMom said...

No doubt Memorial is a great hospital, but I will not ever,ever darken their doorway again. To try and impose on the people seeking jobs a restriction like this is unthinkable. What next?? No gum chewing?!? This rule is totally ludicrous.

January 18, 2010 at 12:35 p.m.
AmandaDillinger said...

I like the idea. I would love to work in a non-smoking environment. When I get out of college.. Memorial Hospital here I come.

January 18, 2010 at 1:34 p.m.
HiDef said...

PBJ -

Drugs, murder and pedophilia are all illegal activities. Smoking isn't, so comparing the two is apples and oranges. As for hiring a doctor with a drinking problem, of course nobody would support that but thats because alcohol can severely alter your state of being. I work in a "public trust" job that says I could be instantly fired for alcohol abuse and I completely agree with the rule, however, it doesn't say I can't drink at all, I just have to be responsible while doing it. If the hospital wants to limit employee behavior at work fine, but when they try to determine what responsible, law abiding adults should be doing outside of work, I think it's overstepping their bounds. Who's to say they won't stop hiring people that drink alcohol as well? Doesn't alcohol have potentially deadly effects as well? It's a slippery slope...

You also admit you're a non-smoker yet you believe someone who can go 8-12 hours without a smoke should be able to quit all together. Seriously?

Amanda-

Other than a bar or club, every indoor workplace is already a non-smoking environment. Sure there may be a "smoking area" but if it's in an offensive place, ask the owner/manager to have it moved to a less conspicuous place where it won't affect the other employees.

For those complaining about how smokers smell...get over it and go buy a book called "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff".

January 18, 2010 at 2:42 p.m.
HaveThoughts said...

Good Lord, this country is becoming less and less free by the second! I am a former smoker, and don't mind ENCOURAGING people to quit. HOWEVER, it is still their right to choose! Please do not allow hospital employees to smoke anywhere that could be affect the patients or visitors. However, what they do on their own time, is their business, even if it causes them to pay a higher insurance premium!

January 18, 2010 at 3:31 p.m.
santor420 said...

I do not smoke. I do, however, use nicotine patches to treat the lingering side effects of iodine poisoning. I would not be able to get a job at this discriminatory facility. Nicotine is also used to treat several other medical problems. It's not about smoking or addiction, just discrimination. Control-freak mentality is inappropriate at a hospital.

January 18, 2010 at 3:32 p.m.
pbj said...

HiDef- Drugs are illegal? Alcohol is a drug, prescription pain killers are drugs...they're not illegal, but they are abused by some, and the abuse kills or hurts people sometimes...and not always the abuser, but sometimes innocent people who were minding their own business.

 "Who's to say they won't stop hiring people that drink alcohol as well?"

Well, it's their right to screen people for drugs (yes, that includes alcohol) and to choose whether to hire that person or not. Also something to consider - this is a religion-based hospital - Catholic, to be exact. Would they condone hiring someone who frequents strip bars to represent their work or organization? Or someone who cheats on their spouse? Or someone who does something that is detrimental to their health (like smoking or abusing drugs?) It's their business to choose who they hire, not ours. They set the rules for qualification of employment...if you want to work there, you comply with their rules. If you don't want to work there, you can go abuse your body somewhere else. You make your choice, they make theirs.

"For those complaining about how smokers smell...get over it and go buy a book called "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff"."

Smelling carcinogenic stink is only "small stuff" to people who already live in it and are used to it. If it's so non-offensive to you, maybe you could suggest Glade bottle it into a spray so you can scent your whole house with it. Just don't invite your non-smoking friends over and expect them to enjoy the fragrant atmosphere.

January 18, 2010 at 3:46 p.m.
pbj said...

Also, some people are actually allergic to cigarette smoke...my own mother being one of them.

January 18, 2010 at 4:26 p.m.
lacey1735 said...

This is GREAT! It was great when they took it out of the restaurants and I could actually breathe in clean air. Do you people not understand how badly you smell? My mother smokes and I keep myself and my kids away from her bc. one she caused my asthma as a child and two I can't stand to smell her. Way to go Memorial!

January 18, 2010 at 4:31 p.m.
jeanaroper said...

Don't You think we have more things to worry about in the WORLD..... Than who smokes and who don't ! What about all the sick children, elderly,Homeless,starving,and You are worried about who smokes and who doesn't..Pathetic..

January 18, 2010 at 4:47 p.m.
HiDef said...

PBJ-

When you wrote, "would you want them to hire a brilliant surgeon who has a problem with drug or alcohol abuse?" I thought you were referring to things such as opiates, crack, etc, you know, the things employers screen for. My sincerest apologies...

Let me try to understand though, you wrote, "they're not illegal, but they are abused by some, and the abuse kills or hurts people sometimes...and not always the abuser, but sometimes innocent people who were minding their own business". Are you trying to equate smoking to alcohol abuse and drug abuse? Can someone actually abuse cigarettes and does the abuse kill patients or co-workers?

If you read my post again, I said I agreed with employers keeping an eye on employees and firing them for ABUSING things like alcohol, but not the use itself. Abusing alcohol and enjoying it responsibly are two totally different things.

As for Memorial's hiring practices, I wouldn't go as far as to say they can make their own rules just because they own the place. If that were true I guess they could start asking about your sexual preference too huh? I certainly don't know the law regarding this but I wouldn't be surprised if it were challenged.

January 18, 2010 at 5 p.m.
HiDef said...

One last question for those so distraught by the stench of others. When was the last time you were in Memorial hospital and said to yourself, gee it smells terrible in here, almost like second hand smoke, I'm leaving. Anybody?

January 18, 2010 at 5:04 p.m.
bubbafrog said...

I would not take in mind at all if a Doctor smokes or not,It wouldn't be a problem and still I would still take his advice.But if he was drunk or a druggie than that would be different.Smoking doesn't affect your judgement or someones ability to work. Just because someone smells like smoke doesn't mean you will catch cancer. What they don't see is that someone who is an employee running to their cars to get a smoke because they done with out all day . ..you can get cancer from other forms it's not only from smoking. People who has never smoked in their lives some have caught cancer and it was not from smoking..

in the end it just comes down to money.

January 18, 2010 at 5:44 p.m.
pbj said...

HiDef -

"Can someone actually abuse cigarettes and does the abuse kill patients or co-workers?"

Lighting up and smoking a cigarette abuses your body and anyone else's who happens to be within breathing vicinity...have you not read about second-hand smoke?! There is no healthy way to smoke! By barring any tobacco use in their new hiring policy, they're also excluding people who dip or chew. Don't you think they're trying to send a messeage of "we want people who are not trying to harm their bodies as employees" as opposed to "we want to hire people who are trying to get lung cancer and oral cancer"? There are many things that are bad for you that are not illegal...but you can't expect others to embrace and love your bad habits.

"One last question for those so distraught by the stench of others. When was the last time you were in Memorial hospital and said to yourself, gee it smells terrible in here, almost like second hand smoke, I'm leaving. Anybody?"

Nope, but it can make you feel sicker and wish you could leave.

A question for you HiDef...have you ever given anyone flowers? They're given quite frequently in hospitals. Why? Because they look nice and usually have pleasant aromas...that cheers people up and good spirits can help people heal. Ever seen anyone come into the hospital with an ashtray full of ashes and cigarette butts as a gift? There's a reason....

January 18, 2010 at 5:50 p.m.
Sailorman said...

Lacey said

"This is GREAT! It was great when they took it out of the restaurants and I could actually breathe in clean air.":

If it bothered you so much, why did you keep going? Ever hear of voting with your dollars? You're apparently happy when "they" force your beliefs on everybody else.

January 18, 2010 at 6:07 p.m.
pbj said...

Sailorman wrote:

"If it bothered you so much, why did you keep going? Ever hear of voting with your dollars? You're apparently happy when "they" force your beliefs on everybody else."

Seems like every restaurant until a couple of years ago had a "smoking section" which means if you ate out you took the chance of breathing cigarette smoke...there was no invisible barrier that kept the smoke from crossing from the smoking to non-smoking sections.

In our society there's always going to be someone "for" and someone "against" on every issue. As a civilation we have to decide what's best for the whole. Your right to smoke ends when it interferes with my right to be healthy. Non-smokers have been trampled by smokers demanding their right to smoke (in our presence) for years. Finally some people are coming to their senses and realizing that non-smokers have rights too, and they're doing something to protect us. No, that doesn't eliminate all the other ills of our society or health, but it's a step in the right direction.

January 18, 2010 at 6:42 p.m.
pbj said...

oops...That's "civilization", not "civilation"

January 18, 2010 at 6:52 p.m.
sandyonsignal said...

Memorial is doing someone a favor by rewarding those who don't smoke or if you do, to quit. This is a good thing. Why all the criticism if it helps save your life? Or saves those who are impacted by your smoke? Or saves an innocent baby? There is nothing good about tobacco whether smoked or chewed- it is bad for you and everyone else.

All hospitals ought to be doing this. I drive by Memorial in the mornings, and every morning there is a group of folks smoking outside of the building. They are addicted to it and I feel sorry for them, but really a hospital should send a good message by having a zero tolerance to tobacco. I personally know the harm tobacco causes and I wish it were outlawed. It is a harmful and unhealthy product.

January 18, 2010 at 7 p.m.
HiDef said...

PBJ-

 "Lighting up and smoking a cigarette abuses your body and anyone else's who happens to be within breathing vicinity...have you not read about second-hand smoke?!"

I can only speak for the facilities that I have worked in but every one of them had a designated smoke area, away from doors and away from common areas. This means that the second hand smoke will only affect persons choosing to be in the vicinity or around the area where people are smoking. I've never heard of someone getting lung cancer because they stood next to someone whose clothes smelled like smoke, have you? If they're smoking at the time, then yes, second hand smoke is a concern but again, if they're voluntarily in a "smoking pit" inhaling second hand smoke, it's a moot point.

"A question for you HiDef...have you ever given anyone flowers? They're given quite...people heal. Ever seen anyone come into the hospital with an ashtray full of ashes and cigarette butts as a gift? There's a reason...."

Now thats funny...

"Your right to smoke ends when it interferes with my right to be healthy"

I totally agree but where are your rights being trampled by somebody lighting up a cigarette at home??? I'm still waiting for you to explain this part. I can see the hospital saying no smoking while on the job but if somebody wants to smoke in their off time, WHO CARES? Funny how you're so worried about your rights but you have no problem when others' are taken away.

January 18, 2010 at 7:19 p.m.
abc13052 said...

pbj,

If it's a hospitals "right" to "screen/discriminate" for legal substances, isn't it ok to advertise in the classifieds for ONLY thin, big busted, blonds, who wears short skirts, AND has the qualifications, to work for the hospital?

You can slice it anyway you want it....it's still not EOE.

January 18, 2010 at 7:56 p.m.
pbj said...

HiDef - glad you appreciate my humour and get my point.

I think the issue of Memorial not wanting to hire people who smoke on their own time has as much to do with the way those employees take care of their health as much as not wanting to allow smoking on the premises. Wouldn't you want to work with someone who is trying to live a healthy lifestyle and wants to be there for years and years so they can help more patients? If they (the employees) smoke, they stand a much greater chance of being a patient themselves in the future than being there to help others.

Illness or disease caused by smoking is preventable. We don't always have control over what happens to us...any of us could get hit by a bus and be put out of commission tomorrow, but I'm not going to dance in the middle of the street (except at the Bessie Smith Strut) and take a chance that I WON'T get hit by a bus.

Believe it or not, I do think people have the right to smoke in the privacy of their home, unless there are children or other non-smokers present (see lacey1735's asthma comment). People also have the right to saw off their own limbs if they want, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Smoking is slow suicide at best, and murder in the worst cases (i.e. someone else dying of second-hand smoke, or getting killed in a fire that was started because someone fell asleep with a lit cigarette in their hand).

January 18, 2010 at 8:08 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

SECOND HAND SMOKE IS A JOKE

Ask the anti-tobacco folks to tell you what truly is in second hand smoke...when it burns from the coal its oxygenated and everything is burned and turned into water vapor...thats right water...you ever burned leaves in the fall...know how the heavy smoke bellows off.......

Thats the organic material releasing the moisture in the leaves, the greener the leaves/organic material the more smoke thats made..thats why second hand smoke is classified as a class 3 irritant by osha and epa as of 2006........IN 1993 EPA decided to change the listing of shs to a carcinogen for political reasons ......because it contained a trace amount of 6 chemicals measured in picograms so small even sophisticated scientific equipment can hardly detect it.

If the same standards to make shs/ets a carcinogen were applied to a glass of tap water, certain foods and most other things in the natural environment they would also be carcinogens. The failure of the EPA to use the dose makes the poison chart in this political decision makes their entire claim a moot point.

However osha still maintains shs/ets as an irritant only and maintains the dose makes the poison position.......as osha is in charge of indoor air quality its decisions are based on science not political agendas as epa's is. We can see this is true after a federal judge threw out the epa's study on shs as junk science..What OSHA should be doing is applying the general duty clause and set indoor standards where limits of safe levels are set. But dog gone it,thats why OSHA didnt set a standard because there was just nothing in shs/ets that could be deemed harmful to humans. So it was left as it was a simple class 3 irritant.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 British Medical Journal & WHO conclude secondhand smoke "health hazard" claims are greatly exaggerated The BMJ published report at:

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/326/7398/1057

concludes that "The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer are considerably weaker than generally believed." What makes this study so significant is that it took place over a 39 year period, and studied the results of non-smokers who lived with smokers.....

January 18, 2010 at 8:16 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

meaning these non-smokers were exposed to secondhand smoke up to 24 hours per day; 365 days per year for 39 years. And there was still no relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. In light of the damage to business, jobs, and the economy from smoking bans the BMJ report should be revisited by lawmakers as a reference tool and justification to repeal the now unnecessary and very damaging smoking ban laws. Also significant is the World Health Organization (WHO) study:

Passive smoking doesn't cause cancer-official By Victoria Macdonald, Health Correspondent " The results are consistent with their being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer. The summary, seen by The Telegraph, also states: 'There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS exposure during childhood.' " And if lawmakers need additional real world data to further highlight the need to eliminate these onerous and arbitrary laws, air quality testing by Johns Hopkins University proves that secondhand smoke is up to 25,000 times SAFER than occupational (OSHA) workplace regulations.

The Chemistry of Secondary Smoke About 94% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a slight excess of carbon dioxide. Another 3 % is carbon monoxide. The last 3 % contains the rest of the 4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smoke… but found, obviously, in very small quantities if at all.This is because most of the assumed chemicals have never actually been found in secondhand smoke. (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80). Most of these chemicals can only be found in quantities measured in nanograms, picograms and femtograms. Many cannot even be detected in these amounts: their presence is simply theorized rather than measured. To bring those quantities into a real world perspective, take a saltshaker and shake out a few grains of salt. A single grain of that salt will weigh in the ballpark of 100 million picograms! (Allen Blackman. Chemistry Magazine 10/08/01). - (Excerpted from "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains" with permission of the author.)

The Myth of the Smoking Ban ‘Miracle’ Restrictions on smoking around the world are claimed to have had a dramatic effect on heart attack rates. It's not true. http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/7451/

As for secondhand smoke in the air, OSHA has stated outright that: "Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)...It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec'y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997 -harleyrider1978

January 18, 2010 at 8:17 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

Heres what the smoke free groups did to try and prove a connection to heart disease and second hand smoke....

The "30 minute" experiments that the statement is based on have nothing at all to do with the exposures one might get on a park bench sitting next to a smoker or even with what one would normally get in any decently ventilated bar or restaurant.

The exposures in the supportive experiments involve smoke concentrations at levels of 400% to 2,000% as high as what used to be measured in the middle of the smoking sections of pressurized airplanes!! (Which used to be held up as one of the worst smoking environments.)

The experiments take nonsmokers who avoid smoke in all their daily home, social, and working life, force them to sign papers

acknowledging the "danger" they are about to be put in, and then sealing them in smoke-choked chambers that nonsmokers would run screaming from if they weren't being paid $100 to endure 30 minutes for science. . . . When the poor souls come stumbling out blood test measurement show small changes that could theoretically relate to heart disease.

The changes are like ones other experimenters find when they feed subjects a bowl of corn flakes and milk.... but in the kooky world of antismoking research those results get twisted into representing an unusual and deadly threat.

And remember: they only get those results in EXTREME conditions, nothing like normal restaurant/park or even decent bar/casino exposures. . . . The Antismokers today are lying just like Big Tobacco did back in the 1950s. Antismoking extremism needs to be put to rest. Smoking is unhealthy like a lot of other things, but the smoke from burning smokers at the stake smells a lot worse than Newports. . . .

Cornflakes, White Bread Could Boost Heart Risk 'High-glycemic' carbs like these hamper blood vessel function, study shows.

THURSDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Eating a diet rich in carbohydrates that boost blood sugar levels -- foods such as cornflakes or white bread -- may hamper the functioning of your blood vessels and raise your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, a new study suggests.

http://www.healthfinder.gov/news/newsstory.aspx?docid=627806

January 18, 2010 at 8:18 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

Since 1981 there have been 148 reported studies on ETS, involving spouses, children and workplace exposure. 124 of these studies showed no significant causal relationship between second hand smoke and lung cancer. Of the 24 which showed some risk, only two had a Relative Risk Factor over 3.0 and none higher. What does this mean. To put it in perspective, Robert Temple, director of drug evaluation at the Food and Drug Administration said "My basic rule is if the relative risk isn't at least 3 or 4, forget it." The National Cancer Institute states "Relative risks of less than 2 are considered small and are usually difficult to interpret. Such increases may be due to mere chance, statistical bias, or the effect of confounding factors that are sometimes not evident." Dr. Kabat, IAQC epidemiologist states "An association is generally considered weak if the relative risk is under 3.0 and particularly when it is under 2.0, as is the case in the relationship of ETS and lung cancer. Therefore, you can see any concern of second hand smoke causing lung cancer is highly questionable." Note that the Relative Risk (RR) of lung cancer for persons drinking whole milk is 2.14 and all cancers from chlorinated water ranked at 1.25. These are higher risks than the average ETS risk. If we believe second hand smoke to be a danger for lung cancer then we should also never drink milk or chlorinated water.

January 18, 2010 at 8:18 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

More ill informed smoker bashing. I do not think the authors would argue with me that smoking over the last 60 years smoking has more than halved (UK 1948 66% of the population, 2009 22.5%) but asthma has risen by 300% (again in the UK). So smoking is not the primary cause of asthma and atopy, I assume the doctor’s cars and industrial pollution. The inconvenient truth is that the only studies of children of smokers suggest it is PROTECTIVE in contracting atopy in the first place. The New Zealand study says by a staggering factor of 82%.

“Participants with atopic parents were also less likely to have positive SPTs between ages 13 and 32 years if they smoked themselves (OR=0.18), and this reduction in risk remained significant after adjusting for confounders.

The authors write: “We found that children who were exposed to parental smoking and those who took up cigarette smoking themselves had a lower incidence of atopy to a range of common inhaled allergens. “These associations were found only in those with a parental history of asthma or hay fever.”

They conclude: Our findings suggest that preventing allergic sensitization is not one of them.”

http://www.medwire-news.md/…/…gic_sensitization_.html

This is a Swedish study.

“Children of mothers who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day tended to have lower odds for suffering from allergic rhino-conjunctivitis, allergic asthma, atopic eczema and food allergy, compared to children of mothers who had never smoked (ORs 0.6-0.7)

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates an association between current exposure to tobacco smoke and a low risk for atopic disorders in smokers themselves and a similar tendency in their children.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubm…pubmed/ 11422156

In conclusion let’s have a balanced debate and not characterise smokers as race akin to the devil.

January 18, 2010 at 8:19 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

THE AIR ACCORDING TO OSHA

Though repetition has little to do with "the truth," we're repeatedly told that there's "no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke."

OSHA begs to differ.

OSHA has established PELs (Permissible Exposure Levels) for all the measurable chemicals, including the 40 alleged carcinogens, in secondhand smoke. PELs are levels of exposure for an 8-hour workday from which, according to OSHA, no harm will result.

Of course the idea of "thousands of chemicals" can itself sound spooky. Perhaps it would help to note that coffee contains over 1000 chemicals, 19 of which are known to be rat carcinogens.
-"Rodent Carcinogens: Setting Priorities" Gold Et Al., Science, 258: 261-65 (1992)

There. Feel better?

As for secondhand smoke in the air, OSHA has stated outright that:

As for secondhand smoke in the air, OSHA has stated outright that: "Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)...It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec'y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997

Indeed it would.

Independent health researchers have done the chemistry and the math to prove how very very rare that would be.

As you're about to see in a moment.

In 1999, comments were solicited by the government from an independent Public and Health Policy Research group, Littlewood & Fennel of Austin, Tx, on the subject of secondhand smoke.

Using EPA figures on the emissions per cigarette of everything measurable in secondhand smoke, they compared them to OSHA's PELs.

The following excerpt and chart are directly from their report and their Washington testimony:

January 18, 2010 at 8:21 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

CALCULATING THE NON-EXISTENT RISKS OF ETS

"We have taken the substances for which measurements have actually been obtained--very few, of course, because it's difficult to even find these chemicals in diffuse and diluted ETS.

"We posit a sealed, unventilated enclosure that is 20 feet square with a 9 foot ceiling clearance.

"Taking the figures for ETS yields per cigarette directly from the EPA, we calculated the number of cigarettes that would be required to reach the lowest published "danger" threshold for each of these substances. The results are actually quite amusing. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a situation where these threshold limits could be realized.

"Our chart (Table 1) illustrates each of these substances, but let me report some notable examples.

"For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes would be required to reach the lowest published "danger" threshold.

"For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes would be required.

"Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

"At the lower end of the scale-- in the case of Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up simultaneously in our little room to reach the threshold at which they might begin to pose a danger.

"For Hydroquinone, "only" 1250 cigarettes are required. Perhaps we could post a notice limiting this 20-foot square room to 300 rather tightly-packed people smoking no more than 62 packs per hour?

"Of course the moment we introduce real world factors to the room -- a door, an open window or two, or a healthy level of mechanical air exchange (remember, the room we've been talking about is sealed) achieving these levels becomes even more implausible.

"It becomes increasingly clear to us that ETS is a political, rather than scientific, scapegoat."

January 18, 2010 at 8:22 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

Its not just discrimination of smokers in the work place but discrimination of smokers in the public arena,The facts are second hand smoke will no more harm you or your baby. These draconian smoking bans need to be repealed and the taxes upon smokers put back to normal levels or below. The injustives done to smokers by smokefree advocates and lawmakers is treason against all the civil liberties americans hold dear. Its time to end this practive of wholsale discrimination against people in general,just because they happen to smoke or are obese or even if they drink alcohol........this nanny state has to end and by the looks of the peoples opinions and polls the nannystate proponents are fixing to get thrown to the wolves.

Im a tennessean bent upon returning freedom to all of us,not just smokers......

Heres what these same nanny types tried to do in missippi last year....

Mississippi Legislature 2008 Regular Session House Bill 282 House Calendar | Senate Calendar | Main Menu Additional Information | All Versions

Current Bill Text: |

Description: Food establishments; prohibit from serving food to any person who is obese.

Background Information: Disposition: Active Deadline: General Bill/Constitutional Amendment Revenue: No Vote type required: Majority Effective date: July 1, 2008

History of Actions: 1 01/25 (H) Referred To Public Health and Human Services;Judiciary B

----- Additional Information -----

House Committee: Public Health and Human Services*, Judiciary B

Principal Author: Mayhall Additional Authors: Read, Shows

Title: AN ACT TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS FROM SERVING FOOD TO ANY PERSON WHO IS OBESE, BASED ON CRITERIA PRESCRIBED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO PREPARE WRITTEN MATERIALS THAT DESCRIBE AND EXPLAIN THE CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING WHETHER A PERSON IS OBESE AND TO PROVIDE THOSE MATERIALS TO THE FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO MONITOR THE FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS FOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

----- Bill Text for All Versions ---- | As Introduced (Current)

Information pertaining to this measure was last updated on 01/29/2008 at 11:24 End Of Document

January 18, 2010 at 8:27 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

I ask you,would you allow these people to take away your rights and criminalize you just for living and doing what you have always done.........I say NO!!!

We are free tennesseans the volunteers that followed ANDY JACKSON all the way to new orleans to kick a tyrant king out for a second time.........we have bled for freedom not only as a state but for our own liberty and the creation of another state,that of texas......but even today on the battlefields of the middle east and before and after.....Why would we allow the wholesale outlawing of smokers,obese people or ourselves just for having a beer............its comming and is here....stand up tennessee against the totalitarian prohibitionists in our state and in our country....return freedom to the people and to ourselves.

January 18, 2010 at 8:34 p.m.
pbj said...

abc13052:

"If it's a hospitals "right" to "screen/discriminate" for legal substances, isn't it ok to advertise in the classifieds for ONLY thin, big busted, blonds, who wears short skirts, AND has the qualifications, to work for the hospital?

You can slice it anyway you want it....it's still not EOE."

You know, I'll bet you can find that very advertisement (minus the hospital employment) on any dating site...or see that type of woman on TV, in the movies, on the runway, and in magazines. That's because each job has its own qualifications and standards, and Memorial has chosen theirs. You won't see Eddie Murphy in drag and a fat suit advertising for Calvin Klein...is that discrimination?

A hospital that is striving for good health for the people should not be forced to hire someone who smokes just because not hiring them is "discrimination". The world is full of discrimination...some of it good (as in "discriminating taste") and some of it bad (that's where EOE comes in - based on sex, age, race, etc., that is, THINGS THAT WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER).

Again...if you choose to smoke, you shouldn't complain about the consequences. Go get hired by someone who doesn't mind employees smoking...or quit smoking, and then apply for a job that forbids smoking. Don't blame others for the consequences of your own choices.

January 18, 2010 at 8:35 p.m.
pbj said...

"SECOND HAND SMOKE IS A JOKE

Ask the anti-tobacco folks to tell you what truly is in second hand smoke...when it burns from the coal its oxygenated and everything is burned and turned into water vapor...thats right water...you ever burned leaves in the fall...know how the heavy smoke bellows off......."

Oh my goodness harleyrider2010...WATER VAPOR??!! Are you trying to say second hand smoke is PURE WATER VAPOR???!!!! If I ever came across water that smelled like that, I surely wouldn't drink it! Have you ever smelled WATER on a person (disregarding sulphur water...that's the sulphur you smell, not the water)?

Sounds like you'll believe any propaganda, no matter how ridiculous, to try and con people into believing that smoking and second-hand smoke is "safe". Tell that to all the people with emphysema and lung cancer who, on their death beds (and I've seen it in person) denounced the day they ever picked up their first cigarette. But at that point it's way too late, and they can only hope others will see THEIR TRUTH and not listen to lies.

January 18, 2010 at 8:50 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

Oh my goodness harleyrider2010...WATER VAPOR??!! Are you trying to say second hand smoke is PURE WATER VAPOR???!!!! If I ever came across water that smelled like that, I surely wouldn't drink it! Have you ever smelled WATER on a person (disregarding sulphur water...that's the sulphur you smell, not the water)?

How long you been drinking the anti-tobacco koolaide......if you want to deny second hand smoke isnt 94% water vapor and ordinary air......Id shut my mouth.Ignorance isnt becoming of a smart person......

The Chemistry of Secondary Smoke About 94% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a slight excess of carbon dioxide. Another 3 % is carbon monoxide. The last 3 % contains the rest of the 4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smoke… but found, obviously, in very small quantities if at all.This is because most of the assumed chemicals have never actually been found in secondhand smoke. (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80). Most of these chemicals can only be found in quantities measured in nanograms, picograms and femtograms. Many cannot even be detected in these amounts: their presence is simply theorized rather than measured. To bring those quantities into a real world perspective, take a saltshaker and shake out a few grains of salt. A single grain of that salt will weigh in the ballpark of 100 million picograms! (Allen Blackman. Chemistry Magazine 10/08/01). - (Excerpted from "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains" with permission of the author.)

January 18, 2010 at 9:05 p.m.
samuelduck said...

I heard a fellow on the radio saying smoking should be banned, because it effects his insurance rate. If someone had a broken down car in their front yard, that can hurt property values. If someone puts a prefabricated home on his lot, that can hurt property values as well. The fact of the matter is, many things we do effects others. The fact smoking raises insurance prices effects the smoker as well. The backlash from this takes away the smoker's personal freedom to simply enjoy a cigarette. Where do we draw the line? Overweight people are barred from jobs, because they effect insurance rates? It's happening in Japan. The government starts taxing burgers and fries, because they are deemed unhealthy? California and New York are already doing that. This is one reason why I'm coming out against sin taxes. I don't smoke nor drink myself, but I can see the writing on the wall. It is a matter of time before I am penalized, through taxes or other means, for the simple vices, I enjoy.

Two other points I should make. Some people are just big people. I'm 220 pounds, but my heart rate is 56, blood pressure is 116/78, and cholesterol is 143. I'm healthy, but the charts say I should weigh 185. I don't want someone telling me to loose weight. Other times, people are overweight, because something is seriously wrong. Thyroid problems can cause this. That's the second point. People are being ostracized for medical conditions over which they have no control. Sin taxes are about 3% or 4% of the state revenue. The lottery is another 1%. These budget changes are not insurmountable.

January 18, 2010 at 9:14 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

Air quality testing done by OSHA (U.S. Dept. of Labor),Oak Ridge Nat'l Lab.,(U.S. Dept. of Energy) etc. all find that second-hand smoke levels indoors are well within safe limits.Add to this the fact that there have been a great number of studies that found that there isn't any statistical risk from second-hand smoke in the first place.It should be obvious to all,by now,that all this "smoker bashing" has absolutely nothing to do with anyone's health."Harm" from second-hand smoke is essentially a rumor,usually raised by people that simply hate smokers.Causation cannot be shown using statistical science.(USSG for one) Smoking bans,of any type,are nothing more than a form of ethnic cleansing and should be regarded as hate crimes.

This is just another health scare tactic.Much is omitted.Tobacco is hardly the only source of cotinine,which isn't harmful.It doesn't matter if more is found because no harmful level of exposure to secondhand smoke has been found.The ability to detect or measure something doesn't make what is found dangerous.Compared to what? Potatoes have high levels of arsenic.Arsenic is a known poison.The level of arsenic in potatoes is merely higher than in other things.This high level is not considered harmful by anyone so no risk exists.

January 18, 2010 at 9:16 p.m.
rolando said...

Thank you for the very informative postings, harleyrider2010. Excellent series.

Unfortunately, the anti-smoking crowd has one characteristic in common with the global-warming nutcases...they do NOT hear anything that might discredit their favorite nutcase theory.

Totally off-topic, but I and the wife took our rides out of their winter mothballs today. A pair of '08 FXDBs. Beautiful day...beautiful ride. I love this state.

January 18, 2010 at 9:25 p.m.
pbj said...

harleyrider2010 said:

"How long you been drinking the anti-tobacco koolaide......if you want to deny second hand smoke isnt 94% water vapor and ordinary air......Id shut my mouth.Ignorance isnt becoming of a smart person......"

Hmmm...it's not 94% water vapor and ordinary air (I'm guessing you mean pure oxygen) I'm concerned about...it's the 6% of whatever nasty carcinogens are left that bother me and other non-smokers. Lay off the crack pipe AND the cigarettes harleyrider2010, and maybe your brain has a chance of recovery.

January 18, 2010 at 9:27 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

Outdoor bans are even crazier than indoor bans. The chemical make-up of shs is nearly 94% water vapor and A SLIGHT AMOUNT OF CARBON DIOXIDE with about 3% being carbon monoxide AND 3% CONTAINING THOSE SUPPOSED KILLER CARCENOGENS.........

n-nitrosomines which you hear so much about is actually inorganic arsenic..what they dont tell you is that the measurements they took match the naturally occuring arsenic in the air outside everywhere. they measured levels at 0-29 picograms....which is totally safe.its the same as drinking a glass of water..the amount has to be 5 million times that to be harmful to humans........you see how they switched it. Trying to blame shs for what is actually a natural thing. The levels of other things in shs if they can be measured at all are millions if not billions of times smaller than the amounts needed to harm anyone......just remember this second hand smoke is a joke within nano seconds from the burn it turns into WATER VAPOR.....Even the exhaled smoke is loaded down with water vapor...osha has said nothing in shs/ets is going to harm you or anyone else.....what shs will do is irritate those with weak immune responces.......thats why shs is classified as a class 3 IRRITANT BY OSHA AND THE EPA.....Remember this a prohibition movement must rely on scare tactics and big money in order to succeed to the level of getting legislation....These outdoor regulations are even crazier than the first claims made for indoor bans.......lets do the silly math if one cig lets off 29 pico grams.We will use the high side of their measurement........and it takes 5 million picograms then thats 5 million divided by 29 = IN CIGARETTES SMOKED AT ONE TIME IN A SEALED ROOM.........172,414 CIGS SMOKED SIMULTANEOUSLY..........DIVIDE THAT BY 20 TO GET PACKS.........8620 PACKS ALL TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME...........SECOND HAND SMOKE IS A JOKE........and this same thing applies to anything they claim in shs/ets.........dont be fooled

January 18, 2010 at 9:27 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

Did you ever learn to read.........

The Chemistry of Secondary Smoke About 94% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a slight excess of carbon dioxide. Another 3 % is carbon monoxide. The last 3 % contains the rest of the 4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smoke......

January 18, 2010 at 9:31 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

You might also be interested to know that the 1992 epa report on second hand smoke was tossed as junk science by a federal judge and 2 congressional comittees.......you might also like to know the surgeon generals 2006 report was a rehash of that same junk science study.......when he claimed 50,000 deaths to shs/ets he was asked to name just one person.......when he admitted he couldnt name even one person,he then admitted it was all computer generated numbers on the sammac computer system....to this date there are no deaths to second hand smoke.....heres the ral clencher the surgeon general cherry picked his epidemiology studies and the best relative risk factor he could get was a 1.1 rr......had he included the enstrom study the rr would have been a .80 rr meaning a PROTECTIVE EFFECT AGAINST ANY DISEASE......

January 18, 2010 at 9:42 p.m.
pbj said...

harleyrider2010: "Did you ever learn to read.........

The Chemistry of Secondary Smoke About 94% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a slight excess of carbon dioxide. Another 3 % is carbon monoxide. The last 3 % contains the rest of the 4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smoke......"

Okay...3% carbon monoxide...still not very healthy for the brain, even at 3%...otherwise people wouldn't DIE from carbon monoxide poisoning when the concentration levels get much higher...(oh, is the word "poison" ever used in conjunction with carbon monoxide...???), and "4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smoke"...hmmm...that's 4,000 different chemicals that have a chance to attack your cells and cause them to mutate. Sounds healthy to me...NOT!

January 18, 2010 at 9:42 p.m.
Max said...

What a bunch of whiners. Just quit. Good golly.

January 18, 2010 at 9:43 p.m.
captaincaveman said...

You'd think they'd have enough incentive to quit by looking at the patients on a daily basis.

January 18, 2010 at 9:47 p.m.
harleyrider2010 said...

Okay...3% carbon monoxide...still not very healthy for the brain, even at 3%...otherwise people wouldn't DIE from carbon monoxide poisoning when the concentration levels get much higher...(oh, is the word "poison" ever used in conjunction with carbon monoxide...???), and "4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smoke"...hmmm...that's 4,000 different chemicals that have a chance to attack your cells and cause them to mutate. Sounds healthy to me...NOT! Username: pbj | On: January 18, 2010 at 9:42 p.m.

FEMPTOGRAMS NANOGRAMS..........IT AINT GONNA HARM YA MY BOY! GO BACK AND READ THE AIR ACCORDING TO OSHA THEN THE RELATIVE RISKS..........your trying to defend the indefensible..second hand smoke is a joke!!!

January 18, 2010 at 9:48 p.m.
littlebit said...

I do have to admit that Memorial is a good health care facility. But not hiring someone for doing something that is legal on their personal time is going to extremes. Especially with the economy in the situation that it is already in.

January 19, 2010 at 2:05 a.m.
Sailorman said...

pbj -

You just don't get it do you? It's not about smokers vs non-smokers and who gets to be banned or offended. It's about personal freedom. If I own a restaurant and choose to allow smoking, I'll either lose money and close because I have no customers or prosper by catering to smokers. Smokers are now a much smaller percentage of the population. If a business chooses to alienate a significant portion of its customer base, who is the government to decide I can't do that. You don't like activity X in establishment Y? Fine don't go. If enough of you and your friends don't patronize the establishment, it will either close or mend its ways. As noted above about obesity, when will you think the gov has done enough? When it outlaws something you believe it shouldn't?

All hail the nanny state! Down with transfats, salt, smoking, obesity, and anything else it deems harmful.

January 19, 2010 at 9:49 a.m.

Oh brother!

Sunny day reminiscences: Ventura, CA Memorial Hospital, 2006. A well-respected Doctor who was abusing his wife and fighting a divorce, jumped out of the hospital's 2nd story office window. He broke some bones but was otherwise healthy enough to face a trial and a few years in prison. Findings: he had been abusing drugs (marijuana, meth, cocaine and prescription drugs) for years. Which is also why his wife was leaving him. He had never been tested for drugs or alcohol, yet sometimes performed surgery while drunk/stoned. His colleagues knew, but hey, 'professional courtesy' you know. This story isn't unusual either-among physicians, nursing personnel, dentists, even veterinarians!

Memorial had a no-smoking policy and allowed their smokers to use a ventilated lounge in the back of the hospital to smoke. Remember this is California, land of the politically correct, the vapid, rabid Enviro-Nazis, the first to ban smoking in your back yard or on your Apt. patio, ban smoking on the beaches, etc, etc. Marijuana-go for it Dude! Driving drunk on the 101-hey, no cops will pull you over. They're probably toking too! You want a job? Gotta have big bazooms, long hair or tatoos. Gotta look non-white, 18 years old and be PC and Marx-indoctrinated. Hey, you're management material Man. Smoke weed? Shoot meth? Coooool.

All of the above is true (obviously, not in every workplace) and is a perfect example of Progressivism gone wild-the new Reality show coming to your theater soon. The US West now, your territory tomorrow. I cannot count the people I worked with there who smoke, pop and shoot everything, yet do not smoke tobacco because it's "uncool".

You guys should be worrying more about factories and Al Gore's/Oprah's Private Jets belching pollutants than a few cig smokers. Lots of companies have provided well-ventilated areas for their employees and everybody's happy.

Note to Memorial: Check out your med personnel, esp. the surgeons. I'd start doing blood, urine and breathalyzers on them periodically if I were you. Or like Rolando stated, you won't because Management, esp. in Gov't Bureaucracies, never, ever police their own, eh? Except us dumb, little folks, cause we don't know anything, do we?

PS: I don't smoke, toke, pop or shoot-except for my mouth off-now and again. I'm au natural and lovin' it. Discriminated against? You betcha, but I stand for and believe in Freedom of speech, Freedom of movement and Freedom to hire whomever you choose to. (hello ACLU? are you listening? BACK OFF the Boy Scouts and religious orgs/charities sleazoids!)

January 19, 2010 at 11:25 a.m.
captainrt said...

If overweight people don't think they are next on the hit list, they are in for a rude awakening. This is only a test of the system. The reasoning will be that overweight people suffer from an array of medical problems. They probably will say that they smell bad too because they sweat badly. I worked for Memorial when I was going to school. This comes as no suprise to me. When I was there, I was told to sign a document that stated that every peice of equipment in the hospital was in perfect working order. Memorial has always thought that they were under some type of buble, a utopian place. I have a feeling that in the end, this is going to cost Memorial a lot more than they ever thought. One of Memorials core values is "compassion". So much for that. A lot of qualified people are going to be turned away because of this and in an industry so desperately in need of qualified people, this makes no sense. If they were really compassionate, they would hire and then help them to quit. So much for Memorials "mission" in the community.

January 19, 2010 at 11:42 a.m.
JM said...

Scary stuff. More and more people willing to trade liberties for the illusion of security and safety. Unfortunately, smokers are the minority. The thing about it is, once you give them an inch, they will without fail take a mile. I do not dispute any of the adverse effect smoking has on health, that much is evident. Like it or not smoking is legal. End of discussion. If the majority non-smokers are so put off by this behavior then I suggest you lobby your representatives to criminalize tobacco. I suspect it will work about as well as prohibition did, but I could be wrong.

Smoke breaks aren't the cause of loss of productivity, the employee is. If you have a lazy employee deal with them accordingly. I can smoke a cigarette in under 4 minutes. Taking only 5 of these "breaks" a day I "waste" less time than my cubical neighbor who visibly spends 4+ hours a day surfing the web. I often wonder what they use in these studies to determine what the baseline productivity of a worker is. Seems like a load of bunk to me.

Some food for thought for the people who are allergic to cigarette smoke. I dated a girl while in college who was allergic to several different kinds of trees. Needless to say she didn't go outside if she could avoid it. Is she therefore entitled to cut down every tree her and people like her can't be around? Should we ban wireless communications because a small percentage of people are overly-sensitive to the frequencies? It is a bit of an extreme, but it is within the same train of thought. We can talk circles around this issue until doomsday, but in the end no one will be happy.

Last point, if you are so worried about second hand smoke, I suggest you get an analysis of your local air quality. There are bigger fish to fry.

TL;DR Bottom line, I sincerely hope this practice is outlawed, it is blatant discrimination. That's my two cents. I Hope someone enjoyed the read.

January 19, 2010 at 1:20 p.m.
Sagacious said...

HarleyRider,

I am with you all the way. (Wish we could meet).

All of the many follower type people need to wake up before it's too late. Here's the eluded to statement adjusted with the reality of today:

First, they came for the smokers, and I not being one was all for it. Then they came for the meat eaters, and I not being one was all for it. Then they came for those who didn't vote as they did, and as there were none left to help defend me, I was taxed, banned, and sent to the gulag, ie, not allowed to exist in freedom.

Beware people, of the mark of the beast. A Hitler can come from the left as easily as from the right. Now is the time to stand tall and resist those who would conspire to take your American liberties from you.

January 19, 2010 at 4:10 p.m.
AliceInWonder said...

This is OUTRAGEOUS! For starters, smoking is an addiction and no one should be PUNISHED for suffering from a chemical adiction. But even if that wasn't the case, to deny people the oportunity to make a living just because you consider their habits ''unhealthy'' is a gross violation of civil rights and a slap in the face of logic, fairness and compassion. They're only doing it to save money, with the same ''thinking'' process you could use to deny a job to someone with diabetes or other chronic health condition.

January 19, 2010 at 4:45 p.m.
TeenaNNY said...

My God, these people sound like real douches! Look at it from this point of view: Would you WANT to work for someone like this in the first place? If this is going on during their "hiring" practice, imagine all of the micro-managing you can expect once you get through the door. I used to work for a local hospital in Northern New York, and let me tell you this, they may have wanted to discourage you from smoking, but they didn't DISCOURAGE their management from mistreating employees. If this is how your work experience is going to start with this place, don't go there....really, don't do it! LOL!!! WOW!!! What a bunch of crap.

January 20, 2010 at 10:49 p.m.
MountainJoe said...

Memorial "has the right" to hire or not hire whoever they want. But I learned a long time ago that having the right to do something doesn't make it the right thing to do.

January 21, 2010 at 7:29 a.m.
vol1805 said...

hey memorial how about all of those fat obese folks you got working over there. why hire them? don't forget the closet alcoholics and pill poppers. and those who may every now and then look at a scantly cladded body.

you have gone too far especially those self righteous folks who came up with this policy. maybe we ought to see what is on your computer, at work and home. check your receipts to see what you have bought recently.

what a crock of ...........

January 21, 2010 at 11:06 a.m.
Humphrey said...

The hospital is a business, and they have every right to hire and fire whoever they want for whatever reason they want.

Some of you people sound like union goons, talking about people's "rights."

Workers don't have rights. Nobody has a right for somebody else to hire them, the only right here is the business's right to hire who they want and fire who they want. They don't have to justify that to you or anybody else beyond their stockholders.

And for that matter, the constitution doesn't give anybody a "right" to use nicotine, either.

And yes, if they don't want to hire people because they are obese or whatever, that is their business.

The hospital is there for one reason, to make money. Whatever makes more money is the only goal they should have, and if they think it will save some money to not hire smokers that is their choice.

Nobody is forcing anybody to apply there if they don't want to. This isn't happy-kindergarten-communist world where everyone is treated "fairly" or everyone has "equal rights."

January 23, 2010 at 10:14 a.m.
Bob81 said...

Word of your hospital dictator (Brad Pope) and company has reached Ohio, where your unfortunate circumstance is lamented. I would suggest you boycott this facility, and ask your representatives to pass laws that keeps the opinions of other "so called" influential people out of your business. Of course, everyone knows that tobacco use is bad for you...so is driving a car. Tell Brad Pope and people like him to either change his mind on this intrusiveness, or he can look for work elsewhere.
We have a saying up here in Ohio...either change the mind, or change the body. Seems like the people of Chattanooga have a choice. I personally, would not be spending my money at Memorial Hospital so long as this policy remains in effect.

January 31, 2010 at 1:54 p.m.
hotdiggity said...

Humphrey, those "union goons" you bash have helped the average worker to enjoy such things as overtime, pensions, vacation pay, 8 hour work day, safe workplace, abolished child labor, elimination of workplace discrimination, equal pay, etc.

Perhaps even you have benefited from some of these policies supported by "union goons".

January 31, 2010 at 4:02 p.m.
LEELEE said...

WHAT NEXT?? DISCRIMINATING AGAINST THOSE WHO RELAX WITH A FEW BEERS ON THE WEEKEND? OR THOSE WHO PLACE A SIDE BET ON THEIR FAVORITE HORSE FOR THE SHORT TRACK? WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE WHO LIKE COUNTRY MUSIC? OH, DO NOT FORGET THE PEOPLE WHO MIGHT BE A SHADE OR TWO OFF FROM THE COMPANY'S "FABRIC SWATCH"? WOULDN'T WANT TO MIX SEASONS!!OR I KNOW,WHAT ABOUT SHORT PEOPLE? OR PEOPLE WHO SNORT WHEN THEY LAUGH? OR FART WHEN THE SNEEZE? WAKE UP PEOPLE!! THE LIST IS ENDLESS........TO THOSE PEOPLE WHO UPHOLD THESE RIDICULOUS STANDARDS - BEWARE! PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES SHOULD NOT THROW STONES - WHAT IS IT IN YOUR LIFE THEY MAY FROWN UPON???

February 26, 2010 at 5:46 p.m.
rolando said...

All that was 100 years ago, hotdig.

They have in the meantime become millstones around our necks. They have bankrupt companies; they have forced our jobs overseas; they have penalized the competent to benefit the inept; they have encouraged sloth; they have ruined our educational system; etc ad infinitum.

The unions' time has come and gone; their death knell is sounding.

February 26, 2010 at 6:05 p.m.
pigbitinmad said...

To the person who blames this on "obamacare" please realize that the real DEATH PANELS are Big Insurance. They mobilize their forces in the Tea party to shout down and disrupt anything the democrats do. The somehow convince people that cutting these greedy CEOs out of the picture amounts to Socialism (when what they are really thinking of is Stalinism). THAT is the reason there is no public option even though it has been proven to cut costs (because you do not have to pay for outrageous salaries, corporate jets, lobbying junkets etc. with your premium dollars)

This smacks of another campaign by big insurance to lower their costs. And yes, I have heard that the next step will be denying benefits to smokers who get sick.

I have since quit, but when I was the only smoker among 10 "healthy" people, I took ZERO sick days and didn't cost my employer a red cent. The others were continually calling out sick and maxing out their sick days. THIS IS BULLS#IT

Anyway, people just wake up and realize that Big Insurance is just trying another tactic to keep their profits in tact.

And also, most drug users are occasional weekend users. Drug testing should be banned as well.

December 23, 2010 at 4:54 p.m.
fairmon said...

I can see not allowing smoking at malls, grocery stores and places of business people need to frequent for essential goods or services such as food, clothing and shelter and health care. However, I don't see politicians dictating that a business cannot allow smoking in places that people have the option of not patronizing. So you don't like people smoking and you don't get to go to a restaurant because they allow smoking, tough luck, if enough people stay away they will see the impact on their business and willingly change their policy.

Employers have rights also. I am a smoker but realize my rights end where someone Else's space begins. Employers have experienced property damage, fires, and generally poor housekeeping and added cost for cleaning and repairs. This is not to mention the work time used for smoke breaks. The better an employer does of screening and selecting employees that are reliable, capable and productive the better off those purchasing their goods or service will be. Perhaps those objecting to those employers that have work rules and screen to find the best employees that meet their standards should find employment elsewhere and see how long the job last if the employer is not selective when hiring.

Someone ask what is next, not hiring someone because they are fat? That is not illegal and some employers don't hire those over weight. Morbidly obese falls under ADA and the requirement they be accommodated. If I owned a business I would never hire anyone with baggy pants barely covering their ass, no one wearing their hat backwards or the bill to one side, no one with multiple tattoos or pierces and I would be legal in doing so.

Insurance premiums should be a'la carte with risky activities such as smoking riding a motorcycle, snow skiers, mountain climbing on and on adding to the premium for those activities identified as risky. Those not selected and paid for will not be covered nor should providers be required to treat the injured that declined coverage.

Auto insurance premiums increase if an insured driver has moving traffic violations or an at fault accident. Why not a high risk premium for health care. Why should I pay more because someone is an idiot and takes ridiculous risk?

December 23, 2010 at 6:01 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

I LOVE IT!!!!! Thank you, Memorial. Having recently moved back to Chattanooga after 25 years, I now know where to take my healthcare business.

That being said, here's some of my observations:

1) I think that Harleyrider either works for the tobacco industry, is a tobacco lobbyist, is a troll, or all of the above. Any proof of your statements, Harleyrider? Links?

2) It is CONCLUSIVE that second hand smoke causes cancer. And now they think that third hand smoke...the residual left after smoking...is also as deadly. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Tobacco/ETS http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100208154651.htm

But here is the shocker, Harleyrider, woodsmoke is deadly, too...oh, wow...too much to take in, huh? http://www.ehhi.org/woodsmoke/health_effects.shtml http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/woodsmoke/

3) The majority of the public DOES NOT want to even smell tobacco smoke. I love this document which shows that as far back as 1977, the tobacco industry was trying to change public perception of smoking... http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/rpi99d00/pdf In fact, you can read all about the tobacco industry tactics at this website: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/ You can find a lot of Harleyrider's rhetoric in those documents.

I became an asthmatic in my adult years due to exposure to environmental toxins. Cigarette smoke...including residual smoke...is one of my triggers. Wood smoke is almost deadly for me. It is a real problem and one that needs to be seriously addressed as Memorial is doing. Naysayers like you apparently don't mind standing by while the rest of us choke...just as long as nobody gets in the way of what you want to do. Shame.

Years ago, I was part of a campaign to keep cigarette smoking out of another major East Tennessee hospital after my mother nearly died from an asthma attack while already hospitalized. The patient in the room next to her kept lighting up.We were successful and no one ever complained...except the smokers who had to leave campus to smoke. But, considering that only about 25% of the population smokes, it brought a lot of relief to those nonsmoking patients trapped in the hospital with smokers and kept the MAJORITY (lots of people on these boards put great importance on majority) happy.

The postings on this board support that fact that South is the most unhealthy place to be. The propensity to light up is one of those reasons. Yes, obesity is another and if Memorial wants to not hire the obese that is their choice. Not discrimination. Check the Federal laws...not hiring a smoker is not among them.

My mother always said "Your rights end where my nose begins." I believe that my mother was right.

December 23, 2010 at 7:39 p.m.
BlueBierd said...

That is a very controversial thing to do, and I am sure glad I work in an industry where the companies have not started banning people who smoke from getting employment. You would think that we are a nation of freedom, but nowadays laws discriminate people and restrict freedom.

Gordon - http://www.e-cig-bargains.com

February 6, 2012 at 3:18 a.m.
BobSmiley said...

I would think that it is reasonable for such a law to be passed, but of course that would be infringing on people’s free rights. I went to my dentist the other day and he commented that he would never hire a nurse who smokes, just because it would look bad on his dental clinic.

February 23, 2012 at 2:27 a.m.
Kathrin said...

Discrimination in the workplace based on smoking because of higher healthcare costs is akin to an airline refusing to fly obese people because of higher fuel cost. It is ludricrous. I can understand a smoke free work enviroment but using a LEGAL drug in their their time off making you unemployable is a step too far. Kathrin - http://electroniccigarettebestreview.com/

March 23, 2012 at 3:08 p.m.
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