How common — not to mention ethical — is it for organizations to deliberately not hire people who are smokers? David Asch discusses his experience at the University of Pennsylvania, where they didn’t just write about not hiring smokers — they did it. “It remains controversial,” he says. “And I am of two minds about it, even though in the main I’m in favor of the idea.”
We don’t have near enough standard of evidence for other kinds of behaviors typically cited when discussing patient behavior, such as weight loss. But the evidence that tobacco kills people, Asch says, is incontrovertible. When health care institutions take a stance — in this case, by not hiring smokers — it serves as a beacon for the community.
From the NEJM Catalyst event Patient Engagement: Behavioral Strategies for Better Health at the University of Pennsylvania, February 25, 2016.