Thursday, December 23, 2004

Reason #100000 to not smoke

CollegeJournal | On the Job

"Gradually though, where employees smoke will become less of an issue, because in Omaha and seven other states, Union Pacific won't hire smokers.'

"While obesity, stress and muscular-skeletal problems like carpal-tunnel syndrome are all on the radar screen, companies are going after smoking with particular zeal. Union Pacific's policies still aren't commonplace, but the company is far from alone in its efforts to openly discourage smoking and encourage quitting.

Home-improvement retail chain Lowe's doesn't allow smoking on its corporate campus or anywhere on its store properties, including the parking lots. And while Union Pacific relies on the honor system to ferret out smokers during the hiring process (there's a question on the job application), Alaska Airlines has gone a step further, requiring potential hires to pass a nicotine test before they can come on board.

The reason for such attention: health and workplace experts know more about smoking today. "There's so much evidence about the impact of smoking on health and productivity," says Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, in Washington, D.C. At the same time, "we also know more about how to help people quit than we did five years ago."

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