Auckland District Health Board Executive Director of Nursing Taima Campbell, proposed the idea, of refusing to hire people who are smokers saying health workers had a responsibility to be positive role models.
This has come about due to complaints from users of the hospital. One of the main complainants is understood to be a man whose asthmatic daughter - who regularly gets treatment at the Starship children's hospital - had been suffering because of smoke blowing inside the doors from staff, patients and visitors smoking out the front.
I find this statement to be hardly credible, the dilution of any smoke from a cigarette being blow in through the doors is laughable. You would have to hold the child directly in the path of the smoke.
While I agree that smoking is a terrible habit and has shocking health effects on smokers themselves and anyone who regularly is subject to secondary smoking this policy is going too far. We already have legislation to ban smoking in the workplace and in some public areas, surely this is enough.
Let's take this positive role model argument one step further. Health professionals should not be hired if they are overweight. Would this be regarded as wrong?
Comparing the two, smoking and obesity both are very detrimental on your health. US studies list cardiovascular problems, cancers and other related effects of smoking as effecting a reduced life span of 13 to 14 years for smokers and causing up to 443,000 premature deaths annually.
Other US studies on obesity list cardiovascular problems, some forms of cancer and type 2 diabetes being caused by obesity and that the obese tend to have a high level or morbidity. Obesity being responsible for up to 365,000 premature deaths annually.
There is not much difference. So let's not employ obese people in health related employment also.
Finally what looks worse, the nurse or normal build who rolls up having just been outside for a smoke and or the grossly overweight one who rolls up puffing and panting and short of breath due to lugging all that weight around.
You decide! Are we all going to be subject to what is perceived to be the ideal person for our chosen profession or are we going to allow individuals to be individuals and have a mixture of people in our lives.