No Smoking Allowed for CLS Students
Recently I received an email from a colleague who is an educator, asking my opinion on what she thought might very well be an ethical, or even legal issue. She had just learned that several clinical sites are now requiring that the students they host be certified as nonsmokers. What??
Many hospitals are smoke free campuses for good reason. Their employees are not allowed to smoke on campus, visitors and patients may have a limited number of designated smoking areas outside the building. That makes sense for a variety of reasons: physical safety as well as to set an example in terms of health promotion.
Others have gone so far as making the decision not to hire smokers at all. Interestingly, courts have upheld the right of employers to hire only nonsmokers. Smokers tend to take more breaks than nonsmokers, decreasing productivity and putting an unfair burden on their nonsmoking colleagues. Smoking is a major contributing factor to many chronic diseases and cost employers much more in health-related expenses. Some companies have decided to reduce insurance premiums for nonsmokers; in effect making smokers bear the brunt of the expenses which they are likely to incur. That's fair.
Students are a different matter; they are not employees of the host facilities, they don't incur health-related expenses. It is perfectly reasonable to require that they follow workplace practices related to dress, safety, attendance, breaks and so on. It is even reasonable to mandate that they don't smoke anywhere on campus. But to require that they be totally smoke-free 24/7. Really? Even as a nonsmoker, I think that might be over-reaching. What's next: random cotinine tests to see if they have been sneak-smoking?
Have you heard of this requirement and what do you think about it?