Beebe's new smoking policy outrageous

December 20, 2012

I was reading the Dec. 7 edition of the Cape Gazette and I came upon the article about the non-hiring of smokers. I would like to voice my opinion about this issue. I think it is absolutely absurd and illegal for Beebe Medical Center to discriminate against people who smoke. How can this be legal? Is it because Beebe is in a lot of hot water with the Bradley settlements, or leaving a “corpse” in the waiting room for two days without anyone noticing it, or locking a 14 year-old girl in the bathroom? Could this decision have anything to do with these cases? I think it does tremendously.

Beebe is now taking it out on the smokers to try to “clean up their act.” First of all, I think it is absolutely ridiculous that if I worked my butt off to get a degree for four, eight or 10 years and went to Beebe and applied for a job and I was turned around for having nicotine in my system? That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard. And here is the craziest part, that nurses and doctors that are already working there are exempt from this policy. How fair is that? I know if I had a life-threatening illness or was involved in a bad car accident, I wouldn't be worried about if the doctor or nurse that was operating on me smoked or not. And I'm sure no one else would either.

You already have to go across the street to smoke and I fully understand that policy. But not hiring someone due to the fact that they smoke is illegal in my opinion. What is it going to be next? Firing me because I eat burgers and fries while other people are on a heart-healthy diet? Instead of checking for nicotine in your system, they'll be checking for your cholesterol levels. And if they're high, they won't hire you. It's the same thing. Then watch all the lawsuits of discrimination pile up. But since it's about smoking, it's OK. What's the difference?

I am not writing this letter to downgrade Beebe or their employees. I know that there are wonderful nurses and doctors who put in long hours to save people's lives. But I guarantee a third of them smoke. How does smoking have anything to do with them saving mine or yours life? None. So what's the issue?

Brian Walker

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