« Freakonomics Radio

123. Help Wanted. No Smokers Need Apply

2013-04-17 | 🔗
In many states, it is perfectly legal to not hire someone who smokes. Should employers also be able to weed out junk-food lovers or motorcyclists -- or anyone who wants to have a baby?
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from a p M american public media and w and Y see. This is for economics, radio on marketplace. There's a host of marketplace: tyrants, doc, Tommy Fellow Friggin homage radio. That moment every couple of weeks we talked to Stephen double the co author of the books and the blood of the same name. It is the hidden side had of everything done, nor long time. No talk men great to be back. I thanks for having made you bet you and as a Navy pilot I know I wonder if you ever thought about afterward working as a commercial pilot was ever. I am yet known, are really it was those never my thing yeah! Well, if you had the end, if you enter you'd with let's say, Alaska, airlines, there's something you would have needed to know. Here's an airline spokesperson, Marianne Lindsey Engine
There is the question that I ask you to have you smoke to use tobacco products within the last time? I believe it six months and we go by how the employee response to that question and then before they are heard, they have a drug tat. They take it that that detects nicotine so I'll ask airlines would not hire me where I smoker, yes, Alaska, airline. Would not higher you, if you are so good, they ve now they ve had this policy for quite a few years. More and more companies now are refusing to hire anyone who uses tobacco alot of health care firms, especially in hospitals, has to be about cutting healthcare costs, run re ray the primary reason for sure, so smokers are more expensive than nonsmokers if you're the company by one estimate about four thousand dollars a year in terms of health care and lost productivity and so on. But you know there is also the idea that you
make every workplace healthier, which means you no smoke free seems to be a good idea there right. Ok, I'm accent, question or two, though Gunnar is this. Last time I checked- and I understand this is not a question some are checked. Smoking is legal man. Yes it as. I also know that you had that's that's the question so. As it turns out in terms of the legality of hiring smokers. Twenty nine states have passed laws it. Don't let companies turned down smokers, but the other twenty one states do, allow you to do that. So if I'm a company in New York or North Carolina or California, I cannot reject an employee, because here she smokes. But if I run a compass, Pennsylvania, Florida or Alaska. I can so that's it. It's a pretty
beer split, which recently led to a peace and the New England Journal of Medicine, about the ethics of not hiring smokers? Here's one of the authors Zeke Emmanuel, whose bio ethicist and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, I'm a cancer doktor. I find smoking disgusting. I fight smoking horrible! I wish that everyone who did it could quit. I so does not hard to think that he is in favour of not hiring smokers re, but wait there's more, but I also recognise that it's not voluntary that mode people start before their their adult. Am that it incredibly hard to quit once you darted, ok, where we were it not voluntary means eager manuals is more dine all, but I will ya right. So that is really the base. If his argument, which is most smokers want to quit but can't and to refuse to hire? Them is therefore
discriminatory, or at least unethical it does this breakdown on socio economic lines. Him in his are a low income, low wage worker, verses, highway, Jain, cumbersome thing. Yet that's a great question. So low income people are substantially more likely to smoke. Then high income people across the board. So if you're a low income Smoker, and now you can't get a job because you smoke it sort of a double jeopardy. There is also the fact that that smoking is one of those activities, legal, as you noted, but publicly frowned upon. This seems to open up bigger can of worms in terms of hiring here's a manual again once your arm. The kick you can say: look you know those seven day at than this they are the very people we really want to employ because those guy they don't smoke, they don't drink, they eat very healthy. They don't engage in high risk sporting activities. You know that you're thinking
exactly where we don't wanna be going grace, okay, you, you can imagine a future where nobody wants. A higher anybody who does anything at all risky. Maybe even risky just expensive, like look becoming pregnant, had is right about that, because we all as we all increasingly share healthcare costs. That means that you increasingly are thinking about what I do, because it affects what you'll pay and insurance and taxes on the case of smoking. What's interesting its we all about the incentives in a tough labour market like ours. Will it turned out to be that getting a job is such a strong incentive that it might have a smoker whose tried everything, but everything else has failed. I have no idea if that will work, but it'll sure be worth keeping an eye on Stephen done. FR economics, dot com is the website stimulus in a couple of weeks. Now, thanks so much
hey podcast listeners coming up on the next, and I'm a radio, Steve Levitt, and I answer your questions. It. Here's one from a reader named Sebastian several. Why is it safe to sneeze with your eyes open The best question would give her a reader. It's another instalment of free Whitley asked questions because on time, Thank you.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-15.