Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Up in Smoke: A Michigan company, in an attempt to keep health-insurance costs down, is firing anyone who smokes or refuses to take a test to see whether they smoke. This is not limited to what workers do on company grounds -- employees can't even smoke at home. Naturally, this is causing a bit of controversy there.

I'm not a smoker, but I don't understand the stigma attached to cigarettes. Lots of things are bad for you -- fatty foods, alcohol, loud noises -- yet some people are trying to regulate cigarettes out of existence. You can't smoke at any public place in California and in other cities around the country. Montgomery County, Maryland, tried to make it illegal to smoke in your own home if a neighbor could smell it.

While second-hand smoke can be an issue, bar patrons should be able to make their own decision as to whether they want to sit in a smoky room or to take their business elsewhere. Outlawing cigarettes is complete overkill.

Of course there's a big difference between when the government outlaws something and when a business does. The Michigan company probably hasn't done anything illegal, and workers can try to find a job elsewhere. But should we allow companies to discriminate against smokers? Are they going to tell us what we can eat next?

Not every problem can be solved by telling people what they can and can't do. In fact, that usually leads to bigger problems.


Post a Comment

Copyright © Staunch Moderate
Using Caribou Theme | Bloggerized by Themescook