WORKPLACE / JUL. 16, 2014
version 7, draft 7

Are You Ready for the Nicotine Tests?

smoking at work

Billboards always remind people of the doctor’s warning “cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health” and it seems that there is more at stake due to smoking than just your health these days. In Maryland, some companies now require workers and job applicants to take nicotine tests before hiring them. With so many smokers in the country today, is America and its employee base ready for nicotine tests?

Issues on Nicotine Tests

It is not uncommon that some companies would require potential job candidates to take drug tests. It even sounds logical that this is required as drugs are known to be harmful to people and often causes undesirable effects on the user.

However, nicotine tests are much different. Cigarette smoking and tobacco smoking is not prohibited in the country. A lot of people enjoy its pleasure and have been doing so for many years in spite of all the health warnings. Because of this, many would be affected by the policy of imposing nicotine tests for job applicants.

  • Limits the freedom of workers

One of the things that people value most is their freedom. Somehow, by forcing job seekers to undertake nicotine tests before hiring them would limit their freedom to do what they want to in their free time. Even though this would be way beyond the scope of their work and would be done before or after office hours, they would be unable to smoke anymore as they would limit their chances to get a job.

  • Smokers would be unable to seek decent work

Everybody knows that unemployment and underemployment are two major problems of society. This company policy, which would screen and filter out smokers and would leave them with less work opportunities. Because of this, either unemployment rate would rise due to the number of smokers who cannot find work or underemployment would rise as smokers would seek other job opportunities that may not be at par with their individual capacity.

Benefits from the Policy

However, inspite of the issues involved in the requirement for nicotine tests, there may be some good that comes out from this policy.  

  • The company would be able to save more on health insurances

While it may seem like a selfish act, it does seem like a logical move for companies. Smokers tend to have more health risks than non-smokers which would increase health insurance premiums.

  • Policy would encourage people to live healthy

Because this policy would leave people with no choice but to avoid smoking as they would have lesser chances to find decent jobs, people would tend to lead healthier lifestyles. While smoking may be something that several people enjoy, it is not a healthy and safe activity and cutting smoking out of one’s system could greatly benefit one’s health.

  • Better health for workers

Generally, overall health of workers would improve since smokers would have to avoid smoking and non-smokers would be able to enjoy a 100% smoke free office.

Regardless of the reception the company policy which requires nicotine tests will receive, undoubtedly, this would greatly impact society in general. This policy could very well eradicate smoking when other efforts have been unable to do so. However, the question still remains: Are you ready for the nicotine tests? Or is this policy imposed too soon without warning?



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