Het stadsbestuur van St. Cloud in de Amerikaanse stad Florida heeft besloten om haar uit 2002 stammende verbod op het aannemen van rokers te herroepen. Het argument dat toendertijd werd gebruikt, dat rokers te veel aan ziektenkosten zouden opleveren, blijkt niet uit te zijn gekomen. Ook kreeg de stad moeite om nog voldoende gekwalificeerd personeel te vinden.
“Number one, it never did do what it was supposed to do — help on insurance,” City Manager Tom Hurt said. “And, it put a cramp on hiring.”
De Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie (WHO) hanteert nog steeds de regel van rokersdiscriminatie bij sollicitaties.
At one point the city loosened its policy by agreeing to hire smokers if they promised to stop.
“No one wants to take a job on the pretense they will be able to stop, not knowing if they will. In a year, if they’re not smoke-free, they’re [fired].”
St. Cloud, which took the action about two weeks ago, is not the only city in Florida that has changed its policy on tobacco.
In 1990, North Miami became the first city in the country to enact the tobacco-user hiring ban, but rescinded the policy in 2003.
“At that time, we were having a terrible time recruiting police officers,” said Sue Luglio, assistant director of personnel. “We thought that might be a little edge we could get.”
Like St. Cloud, North Miami did not notice any insurance savings with the smoking policy.
Sanford still has a no-tobacco hiring policy for police officers, said Sheryl Chapman, the city’s director of human resources. She added that it has not affected applications, and the police force has been expanding.
But the policy hurt St. Cloud’s ability to attract qualified workers.
“We were losing qualified people,” said Lt. Vinny Shepard of the St. Cloud Police Department. “We still have the no-smoking policy in city vehicles and on the [department] premises.”