Of Money and Smoking

Everyone should be paid the same whether they are a smoker or a non-smoker.

Viviana Padilla, Columnist

Smokers are struggling to find jobs, and their treatment is unequal to a non-smoker’s if they can find a position. A person’s smoking habits smoke should not determine if they become employed or how much they are paid.

A study by Stanford University School of Medicine proved that smokers are less likely to find a job after finding, “only half as many smokers (27 percent) had found employment after 12 months compared to the non-smokers (56 percent), and among those hired.” Non-smokers have a higher chance at applying and actually getting the job; this is unfair for smokers since their smoking does not stop their ability to work. Non-smokers have a 24 percent more chance of getting the job compared to a smoker.

Of course, smoking is not healthy, and smokers in the workplace are not always the best of employees. Reporter Andrew M. Seaman said that smokers tend to have to take more sick days and to not be able to concentrated during work; smokers are also more likely to lose their job, but that may be another example of unfair treatment. Reporters and researchers believe that non-smokers have a higher education than smokers, and that is the reason why non-smokers are getting the job. But that doesn’t mean that they should be treated any different based off of stigma; it should be based off of performance, and I’m certain that some non-smokers can do just as badly.

In fact, a smoker can be paid up to five dollars less per hour. While this may not seem like much, it does tally up to a rather large number. A habit like that should not determine how much that you get paid. It sounds like they do not want them to work there in the first place. CNBC says, “If you want to earn more money, quit smoking,” but that’s not an option for many because of the extreme difficulty.

Everyone should have the equal chance to get a job and receive the same pay. Smoker or non-smoker, we are all human. I think that more people should look into this and realize how unfair this. Of course, I don’t condone smoking at all, and for your own health, it would be wise to quit. But that doesn’t mean that companies should deny a person fair treatment just because of a habit.