I'm not usually a defender of cigarette smoking -- I think and feel better in a smoke-free environment, and I generally choose my haunts accordingly. But I am downright creeped out by the degree to which societal scorn for smoking and its health effects has led to a willingness to treat smokers as somehow lesser citizens. First it was private employers firing smokers who wouldn't quit (smoking on their own time, mind you). And academic employers were close behind. And now a county government is considering eliminating smokers from their payroll.
Two things creep me here. First, aren't there other ways to handle the costs and risks inherent in having employees with risky behaviors? Insurance companies charge them higher premiums; if these workers are willing to pay more into their company plans, aren't they already covering those costs? (Or is this a secret campaign against excessive smoking breaks?) And second, does anybody really think that if these policies survive court challenge, policies regarding weight won't be close behind? Some of these companies have openly stated that intent. What will be next after that? Eeesh!