Monday, February 14, 2011

822 You Want Fries With That Smoke?

822 You Want Fries With That Smoke?

Here’s the latest from the no-smoking nannies: some hospitals and companies are requiring prospective employees to take a “drug” test for nicotine as a condition of employment. And some are making existing employees take the same test as a condition of continued employment.

You want to ban smoking on your premises? Sure, go ahead. After all, they’re YOUR premises. But you don’t own Radkoj the Janitor.

The CEO of the United States of America is a smoker, although currently, he says, in remission. Do we fire him for that?

Hey, guys, smoking is legal. And one hand of the monster government heavily subsidizes the tobacco growers while another hand tells us to not smoke. Brilliant. (And shows you anti government anarchist creeps that the government is not one huge monolith.)

If you mainline Nicorette Gum, you’ll show nicotine in your pee sample. But you don’t smoke, and you don’t use tobacco.

But that’s just a fine point. The real question is “can a company restrict an employee’s right to smoke on his or her own time and in his or her own home or driveway?” Are they about to put spy cams in your bedroom? Is any of this constitutional?

If so, what’s next? Quarter Pounders and Whoppers? Fries? High test rum? Red meat? Are we to become a nation of sprouts? No, wait. You probably can SMOKE sprouts.

Some argue that non-smokers subsidize the cost of caring for smokers who get sick. So, charge the smokers more for their insurance based on probability of illness. Or better yet, don’t charge anyone for health care. We subsidize one another with Social Security, why not insurance?

They argue that smoking hurts productivity. No it doesn’t. Sloth hinders productivity. Over-driving employees hurts productivity. Putting profits before people hurts productivity.

Of course, they could outlaw tobacco. That would put a gazillion people out of work, cut tax revenues by a gazillion dollars and sharply reduce campaign contributions. So that’s not going to happen.

Even the anti-smoking lobby has questions about all this. The American Cancer Society, for one. But here’s the really scary part: the municipal workers unions, quoted in the NY Times, say this issue is “not yet on (their) radar.” These guys should have been the early warning system.

Meantime, when you work for one of these outfits and can’t smoke on the property, “I’d walk a mile for a Camel” takes on a whole new meaning.


--You’ll hear more about this in the future, but here’s a preview of the Next Big Thing. When we write about ourselves, we use upper case “I.” but when we write about You, we use lower case “y.” Which means we consider ourselves more important than the person or people for whom we’re writing, which You better believe that’s not always true.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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