Minimum 150 words.
Topic 2: Smoking Ban
Review Case Study Below.
Is it reasonable to adopt the policy of not hiring smokers and requiring all new firefighters to sign a condition of employment that they will not smoke?
Will this policy save the fire department money with healthier employees or embroil the department in battles over infringement on personal rights? Provide references to support your response.
Many fire departments provide automatic retirement benefits for firefighters developing any heart/lung illness. One major cause of these illnesses is smoking cigarettes. An article describing the results of studies by the Medical Research Council (London, England) indicated that cigarette smoking has greater harmful effect than fire fumes on measures of pulmonary function. “The prevalence of respiratory symptoms was higher in smokers than non-smokers and increased with the number of cigarettes smoked” (Douglas, Douglas, Oakes, & Scott 1985). In addition, a 1973 study by H. D. Peabody discovered that cigarette smoking and exposure to carbon monoxide interacted in a synergistic fashion to substantially lower pulmonary function, reducing the ability of the firefighter to perform heavy work for sustained periods of time (Peabody, 1973).
In March 1978, the city of Alexandria, Virginia, stopped hiring smokers as firefighters because smokers accounted for a disproportionate number of early retirees from the fire department. Although the argument to support banning cigarette smoking by all firefighters seems strong, there are some practical and legal questions that need to be resolved when implementing this type of policy. For example, many unions or individuals would argue that this is an infringement on personal rights.
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