County Refuses to Employee People that Use Tobacco Products..

January 4, 2008 - The only people who will be considered for employment as of January 1, 2008 in Marion County, FL must sign a sworn statement affirming that they have not used tobacco within 12 months, and further, that they will not use such products while they work for the county. Violators of the policy can be fired. Current tobacco users are exempted, although they will be offered programs to help them quit. So as it stands, any smoker hired last Monday or earlier is in the clear, but a tobacco consumer who wants a job now should just steer clear. County officials say they trying to cut down on health insurance costs by not hiring people who use tobacco. The county is not alone. The city of Ocala, FL instituted a similar policy effective Oct. 1, 2007 and local governments in Florida have been able to legally turn aside smokers as prospective employees since 1995. Related news brief: August 13, 2007. From Companies concerned about paying high health insurance premiums are hesitant to employ people that smoke or use other tobacco products. A healthcare benefits company fired four of its employees for refusing to take a test that determines whether they smoke cigarettes. Weyco Inc., a health benefits administrator based in Okemos, MI adopted this policy January 1, 2005 that allows employees to be fired if they smoke even if the smoking happens after business hours or at home. The company cites concerns over rising healthcare costs for those that smoke. "Wyco Inc. is a non-smoking company that strongly supports its employees in living healthy lifestyles."(, 1/25/2005). Effective January 1, 2002, as a part of our public health policy, and because of the known effects tobacco use has on our community, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department does not hire applicants who use tobacco. Smokers at Scott's Miracle-Gro Co. won't even be able to do that much longer. In October 2006, the Marysville, OH based company will begin randomly testing employees and giving pink slips to those who test positive for nicotine. The company announced the ultimatum in November, saying it was giving employees a year to quit, and offered to help with smoking-cessation programs. Scott's officials say it's part of a larger effort to help their employees become healthier (Clock ticking down for smokers at Scott's Miracle-Grow, Susan Deutschle, Business First of Columbus, April 14, 2006). More and more tobacco use is being looked upon as anti-social and unacceptable behavior. Schools are considering making the use of smokeless tobacco a suspendable offense. (