4 May 2022


Reasons why Smoking Remains to be a Contentious Issue in many Workplaces

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 824

Pages: 2

Downloads: 0

Many people who successfully graduate from most learning institutions usually make the next bold step of seeking for employment in the formal employment sector. Even those who do not possess the necessary academic qualifications look forward to landing a job that will sustain them and cushion them from financial uncertainties. However, many people’s efforts are usually thwarted by employers who seek to bar potential employees with certain behaviors and habits from getting a job in their companies. One of the practices that are frowned upon by most employers is smoking. Indeed, many states in America have enacted several laws that are aimed at regulating smoking, especially in public places so as to maintain sanity in the public sphere. This paper delves deeper into the issue of tobacco use and whether employers should hire employees who have the habit. It also looks at some of the pros and cons of hiring employees who subscribe to this practice.

Sifting through the many resumes that are provided by potential employees is often a daunting task that many Human Resources managers dread. According to LawDepot (2017), finding out whether someone is right for your company is always an intimidating task. CompareBusiness Products.com (2013) argues that according to the law, it is in the best interests of employers not to ask questions that are regarded to be too personal and which may infringe on the privacy of a potential job candidate. One of the issues that some States have enacted to be illegal for employers to ask job candidates is whether the smoke. Some individuals may think that it is the right thing to do but a similar number would differ. This is because an employer is mandated to ask any question that he/ she deems fit within the interview setting and those, in particular, that will affect the productivity of the potential employee while they are at work. Therefore, employers should choose the best method of framing questions relating to smoking, so that the candidate does not view them as being discriminatory. 

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Research has proven the smokers cost companies more than $1000 on an annual basis (Roddy, 2015). They are more expensive to “maintain” than their co-workers who do not smoke. Additionally, employers are legally mandated to ensure that they protect their workers from any health hazard that may emanate from the workplace. One of the ways in which they can do this is by making sure that they do not hire smokers in their organizations. One of the pros of not hiring smokers is that they have a high degree of absenteeism, an average of more than 50% more than non-smokers (Roddy, 2015). Secondly, smokers may end up costing the company more money in maintenance of office equipment such as computers because they may be exposed to smoke for extended periods of time hence damaging them. Smokers also have a diminished productivity at work and end up spending a lot of time on unproductive activities thus jeopardizing an organization’s reputation (Roddy, 2015). Additionally, employees who smoke end up eating a big chunk of the company’s resources since the company ends up paying for a higher life, health and property insurance for them. Smokers also tend to take a lot of time taking smoking breaks that may end up consuming the time that would have otherwise been used in undertaking more productive activities. Most importantly, smokers may be regarded as a huge liability since they may end up causing fires at the workplace through careless disposal of cigarette butts. 

However, the issue of hiring smokers is a two sided coin and can also be argued from another of view. Some people may say that a company should not have restrictions on hiring new employees even if they are smokers. One disadvantage of banning smokers is that it is a form of discrimination since other people who are other illnesses like diabetes and obesity are not barred from seeking employment opportunities. Therefore, banning smokers entirely from seeking jobs may end up sparking an outrage from some quarters of the society who may regard it as a form of discrimination. Another disadvantage is that you would not want to turn away a potentially good employee who has all the necessary qualifications only because they suffer from a smoking addiction. This is because they may be the next stepping stone to the prosperity of your company. Surely, you cannot turn away a good Salesperson or IT Manager because of smoking; a problem that can be regulated (Wisniewski, 2013).

Smoking is a personal issue that should not be used as a basis for discrimination when it comes to the hiring of employees. This is why most states have made significant strides in passing legislation that protects smokers from outright discrimination both at workplaces and in other areas outside the workplace setting. Measures can be put in place to stop smokers from affecting non-smokers. One of such measures would be the designating of smoking zones at the workplace so that smokers can have the opportunity to smoke during the stipulated breaks. Employment should encompass inclusivity and should be devoid of any form of discrimination.


CompareBusinessProducts.com. (2013). 30 Interview Questions You Can't Ask and 30 Legal Alternatives. Compare Business Products , 42-54.

LawDepot. (2017). 15 Questions You Can’t Ask Employees. LawDepot Blog , 72-81.

Roddy, J. (2015). Here’s Why You Should Never, Ever Hire People Who Smoke. Talent Management and HR , 17-21.

Wisniewski, D. (2013). A Ban on Hiring Smokers? It’s not that Simple. HR Morning , 89-97.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). Reasons why Smoking Remains to be a Contentious Issue in many Workplaces.


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