February 09, 2005

Smoke Screens

This morning, I promised you a coherent set of thoughts about the question I posed. And I had the best of intentions. Despite working an eleven hour day, I managed to draft a manifesto I was convinced would change the world. It would wow you, leave you chanting cac-tus cac-tus cac-tus, breathless with a sense of rebellion and willingness to stick it to the man. But then...well...I read it over just not and realize that it was complete crap. And it was nowhere near as eloquent or insightful as the things you came up with on your own. I deleted it. So, without fancy words, clever phrases and potential chanting, let me just lay it on the line...

Smoking-related healthcare claims increase everyone's payments. Logically, fewer people are able to afford healthcare and, in turn, fewer companies are able to offer affordable healthcare coverage to their employees. I'm no genius but I know that these things, coupled with the fact that smoking isn't all that great for you, are bad. But, still not being a genius, I know that a complete and utter lack of respect for free-will, self-determination and personal liberties aren't so hot either. This is one very steep and slippery slope ladies and gentlemen.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't believe there are huge government or corporate plots against the huddled masses. But I do believe that, instead of dealing with the problems at hand head-on, both the government and corporations play the "what if" game a little too much. While fiscal responsibility and corporate culpability are worthy of extra thought, I don't think such considerations are valuable when they cross the lines between private and public life and invade my privacy and threaten my civil liberties.

I truly believe that each and every company has a duty to provide something in return to the community in which it thrives. One such duty is employment. To arbitrarily disqualify portions of the employment pool for such an inane - and currently legal - reason as smoking is counterproductive. Perhaps, more importantly, its irresponsible.

I like to think that I live in a country in which I can get a decent job regardless of my beliefs, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. I should be able to smoke, sleep, eat, dream, drink, speak and fuck according to my own moral and ethical compass as long as its within in the law. Not the ideals of some corporate CEO trying to make decisions for me and not the moral values as laid out by the President. I want to be appreciated for my talents and my ability to do a particular job, not what I think or feel or do on my own time.

Thank you all for your comments, rants, thoughts and tirades...and the honesty and passion with which you delivered them. Don't forget that your minds, your thoughts, your hopes and your dreams are yours. No one can ever take them away from you. And if someone tries, tell em to fuck off.

Posted by Chris at February 9, 2005 07:14 PM
Comments

cac-tus cac-tus cac-tus

Erm...anyway

Yes, I think that Weyco is a bit beyond the line of things they can 'regulate' in their employees. They can opt to not offer health insurance to them, they can even make them pay the difference between what a non smoker would pay, and what a smoker pays. But relieving them of their job because they indulge in a habit that the owner of the company doesn't believe in, and it being legal, is quite the slippery slope.

I've read in a few different locations that this gentleman (term used VERY loosely) has mentioned that people of size are next on his 'hit' list, but he can't fire them because they're 'protected' by the government.

This sets a precedent that makes my hackles stand on end. It's standing at the top of a hill that may end in a very bad place. And I'm not sure we want to go there.

(Oh, and how did I get first?)

Posted by: Kellie at February 9, 2005 07:30 PM

You had a good discussion going, good post!

Posted by: Carla at February 9, 2005 07:36 PM

Yer like smart er something.

Posted by: RockStar Mommy at February 9, 2005 07:40 PM

Wow. That was so good, I think I need a... cigarette!

Posted by: ms.quilty at February 9, 2005 07:49 PM

I can't even begin to tell you what a comfort it is to know that people like you do exist and live in Virginia.

Posted by: Nicole at February 9, 2005 09:52 PM

Well, at least there is something to it. I think people shouldn't be allowed to come to work smelling of smoke - just like they're not allowed to come in reeking of BO. But that's just me.

btw, you forgot me again. :)

Posted by: Autumn at February 9, 2005 10:39 PM

Cac-tus...Cac-tus...I love you...(I love Mrs. Cactus too...and baby Cactus)I am proud of you... And You rock!

"I like to think that I live in a country in which I can get a decent job regardless of my beliefs, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. I should be able to smoke, sleep, eat, dream, drink, speak and fuck according to my own moral and ethical compass as long as its within in the law."

Amen brother! This was a great discussion!

Posted by: Gypsy at February 9, 2005 10:44 PM

Cac-tus...Cac-tus...I love you...(I love Mrs. Cactus too...and baby Cactus)I am proud of you... And You rock!

"I like to think that I live in a country in which I can get a decent job regardless of my beliefs, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. I should be able to smoke, sleep, eat, dream, drink, speak and fuck according to my own moral and ethical compass as long as its within in the law."

Amen brother! This was a great discussion!

Posted by: Gypsy at February 9, 2005 10:44 PM

I cant see how this could be legally applicable to people whose employment contracts started before this. It is distinctly different from drug testing.

Posted by: stinkerbell at February 10, 2005 09:01 AM

God forbid that they outlaw smoking.

Even if I have quit by then, I would still move out of the country.

Which do you think will happen first? Roe v. Wade overturned, or smoking outlawed?

And then will they outlaw obesity? McDonald's?

This is becoming a scary place to live.

Posted by: jenorama at February 10, 2005 10:51 AM

Amen to that! ;)
I will be happy to tell someone to f-off if they tried to do something like that to me.

Posted by: Kitty at February 10, 2005 11:15 AM

Do you have any idea how much of our (taxpayer) money is spent keeping veterans alive that got hooked on the free cigs we gave them when they were fighting in WWII, Korea, Nam, etc.?

I don't know, either, but it's a bunch. All because our tobacco industry is in bed with our politicians.

Um, okay, sorry to rant there, but it isn't just the private sector that needs to worry about health costs.

Posted by: ben at February 10, 2005 11:25 AM

very well put!!

Posted by: Dawn (webmiztris) at February 10, 2005 02:22 PM

Very good points that you made there. I think it's good for companies to take a stand on the health of their employees, and to OFFER options like fitness facilities, access to nutritionists, and smoking-cessation programs -- but I don't like the thought of them going so far as to fire (or not hire) someone who smokes, if that person has the abilities needed to do the job.

Posted by: Zandria at February 10, 2005 03:29 PM

I think your unborn child will one day look back on this post and chant "cac-tus cac-tus cac-tus" because, you know, it's totally a personal choice to smoke.

Posted by: gene at February 10, 2005 05:12 PM

I read the articles, and I read the post below, and now this one. I read a book in high school by George Orwell, he had a theory about how "big brother" was going to be watching you in the "future". I feel we are arriving on that doorstep. This is one more link in the chain that is being forged by our governement, regardless of how you voted, to control all that we do and think and say. This is wrong, on so many levels. I get scared by the th ought of where this country is going.

Posted by: Nina at February 11, 2005 06:57 AM

I agree with you Chris. Even if smokers do cause healh insurance costs to rise, we can't just start chopping random groups of "expensive" people off from the workforce. Diabetics are expensive for a company's health plan to cover, so do we fire them all too? Would we only fire the ones who have it due to their own diets, but people born with it are okay?

What about people who have bad backs and need frequent chiropractors, or people with depression who need ongoing treatment? Where would the legislation of medically expensive-firings end?

Whew, I am verbose early in the morning!

Posted by: supine at February 11, 2005 07:19 AM

I think this whole "death by smoking" deal is self perpetuated. Not that smoking is good, it isnt, and as a smoker I can figure that out all by myself. However. If you are diagnosed with terminal cancer or ANYTHING, as my mother in law was, if you EVER smoked, they just put cause of death by smoking. Cancer caused by smoking. Like there is no test or anything, nor do they ask about exposure to any other carcinagens. Quite suspect.

Posted by: Wyrd at February 13, 2005 11:36 AM