Smoking is fast becoming as unacceptable in proper society as spittoons were at the turn of the previous century. And that’s a good thing — peer pressure will do more to curb smoking than all the laws a government could write.
Some smokers complain, however, that their rights are being violated. Well, no. There’s no “right to smoke” in the Constitution. The government could make tobacco completely illegal, like they have done for other drugs and substances that give you cancer. After all, that worked with marijuana, right? They made it illegal and no one smokes that!
Anyway, sarcasm aside, while I support laws prohibiting smoking in public places, there are still some gray areas with which I am uncomfortable.
For instance, when I was hiring a new secretary, I said “no smokers need apply.” Smokers smell up the office, need more sick days, and cause health care insurance rates to rise. It seemed like a reasonable request to me, and one many businesses now do (especially jobs where being healthy and in shape are important, like for police officers).
But there is a worrisome slippery slope there. After all, if the worry is about health care and sick days, should an employer also be allowed to say “No one who is overweight will be hired” or “only vegetarians need apply” or “no soda drinkers”? How much of our personal decisions should an employer be able to use when deciding whether to hire us?
I don’t really have an answer to that one.