Australia-Northern Territory Medical expert against health care workers that smoke..

March 3, 2009 - Dr. Peter Beaumont, president of the Australian Medical Association’s Northern Territory branch believes people who smoke should be banned from working in the health system because it is akin to allowing convicted pedophiles to roam among children. Beaumont, a medical expert has lashed out at nicotine-addicted doctors and nurses, saying they should not be allowed to work with children or in indigenous communities.

"You wouldn't send pedophiles to work in an area where there were lots of children … so why shouldn't we limit people who have a very bad health habit? With everything else being equal, we should have a situation where a non-smoker should get the job over a smoker."

About 60 percent of indigenous people smoke. "In some remote areas that can be as high as 80 per cent, and yet I constantly see groups of health workers standing around their four-wheel-drives all having a puff before they head off to see these people," Dr Beaumont said.

Indigenous people (lived there before they were discovered by the outside world) make up almost 30% of the Northern Territory’s population compared to just over 2% nationally. Of these people, over 70% live in remote or rural areas, from large communities such as Wadeye, with a population over 2,300, to small outstations with a population of only four or five.

Simon Chapman, a professor in public health at the University of Sydney, said the call to discriminate against smoking employees was "pure myopia". A spokeswoman for NSW Health said that staff were encouraged to quit smoking but they would not be subjected to any form of discrimination.

References: Smokers and pedophiles spoken of in same breath, Kate Benson Medical Reporter, The Sydney Morning Herald, 3/3/2009; Smokers and pedophiles spoken of in same breath,

Click on image to enlarge.., Oxfam-Australia