Thread: Tobacco use

  1. #1
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    Default Tobacco use

    While surfing I noticed that a few departments ban the use of tobacco by their firefighters, both on and off duty. Miami and Boston where the larger departments that I noticed.
    Who has similar policies, does it apply to new guys only, how was an off duty policy put into place? What are the consequences if caught using?
    We can't smoke in the building, truckroom, or rigs but haven't banned it on the property.

    Some insight would be appreciated, thanks

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    This may be a little off topic.
    I always find it a little strange to see firefighters standing outside of a stucture after a good work smoking a cigarette. Why not walk back inside without scba and take some deep breaths? Maybe it's the fine blend of southern tobaccos that they find irresistable. Or maybe they just want to look cool in front of the kids that are standing around looking up to them.

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    whoa, ey, ez there, tyger and yes, i do believe your off topic
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    ASDN/WFLD...Look back a page or two and there is an entire thread on this controversial subject.

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    I didn't see the other post.

    Here's an interesting thought. Heart Disease, Lung Disease and all Cancer are presumed job related when you get them. What does smoking give you? Hmmmmmm. I can see why the department doesn't want you smoking.

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    What about chewing tobacco? We cant do that off duty. They give us nicotine test.
    L-1132

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    This is a growing trend that is saving insurance companies and cities a lot of money. I use chewing tobacco myself and I know I need to quit....someday..
    Anyway, I know some cities/towns have been doing this for a long time in Kansas. Topeka and Witchita/Sedgwick County both have these policies that when you are hired you must sign a form that says you will not use tobacco products of any kind on or off duty. My old dept. just started this policy about 2 years ago. I know there are others.
    So you ask how can they do this????Simple....you want the job, you follow their rules for getting it. Residency,tobacco, EMT cert, FFI, etc. all ways that places can use to weed out potential candidates.
    Lastly, for the guys on the job in these places and others I have heard of that used tobacco before the policy went into effect.....they are able to still use as allowed by grandfathering.

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    I believe Omaha, Nebraska has the same policy...no tobacco.

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    Do they test you for nicotine? Can you chew nicotine gum?

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    I would guess that they could test for nicotine during a physical. Some places require you to be free from tobacco use 1 year prior to applying. This would lead me to believe that they do test for it. Not sure on the gum.

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    Wichita has a no smoking policy. When you hire on you sign an agreement saying you will not smoke on or off duty (uless you are grandfathered in). Smokeless tobacco is currently ok. In fact I know quite a few guys who gave up smoking but started chewing for the fix. I believe our union is looking at approaching our administration with some changes in the smoking policy. The big problem that most guys have is the city controlling what we do outside of the station. We hear about all the money that the cities are suppose to be saving by personel not smoking but what about what we are cooking. Fire house cooking isn't the poster child for health. A common quote "What are they going to do, not allow us to eat cheese burgers any more too?"
    I don't smoke or chew so the policy doesn't really effect me. However, the control outside the firehoue is what most have the problems with.

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    State law in Fla since 1989. Anyone who applies for state fire cert (required for any paid FD job) after that year must be tobacco free for two years prior to applying. This was a direct result of our presumtive(?) heart & lung bill passed around the same time.
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    Ahhh, the smoking nazis. We all know that cigs are good for you, "they have Vitamin C in them and stuff"

    Have been smoking for 15 years. Terrible habit, while I totally agree smoking should not be allowed while on duty or in department facilities, if I want to sit on my back porch drink beer and smoke my brains out so be it.
    Last edited by CaptainS; 03-23-2006 at 01:04 PM. Reason: grammar
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    Angry

    I agree about being able to do what you wish on your off time. I don't smoke myself. Anyway, I agree that smoking/chewing on the job is bad. However I also believe that outside of work is my time! Thank you government for controlling my life even more... Taxes, Smoking, and Death Tax. Where does it end?

    Pretty soon Firefighters will be forced to be vegitarians, and will have to have weekly colonics. You know what trying to keep my training and certifications up is stressful enough in this day and time. Now they want to take away our Vices??

    Anyway I got way off topic. In Florida you have to be tobacco free 1yr. prior to applying with an FD, it's the law. And you can not take up the habbit after being hired, or you are dismissed! People who were already employed by an FD are exempt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pudders
    I agree about being able to do what you wish on your off time. I don't smoke myself. Anyway, I agree that smoking/chewing on the job is bad. However I also believe that outside of work is my time! Thank you government for controlling my life even more... Taxes, Smoking, and Death Tax. Where does it end?

    We (FFs) had to agree to the tobacco ban in order to get our heart & lung bill passed. We now have a law on the books that says If we develope cancer, have any cardiac problems, hypertension, COPD (among others) its considered job related and the state picks up the tab.

    That kind of coverage for not smokeing, I say fair trade.
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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by wfd1045
    Wichita has a no smoking policy. When you hire on you sign an agreement saying you will not smoke on or off duty (uless you are grandfathered in). Smokeless tobacco is currently ok. In fact I know quite a QUOTE]
    Thanks for clearing that up for me. I thought the WFD ban was for chew as well. Maybe it was just Sedgwick Co. or maybe not. I thought my buddy down at SCFD said no chew either but maybe I understood him wrong. I am aware you are 2 seperate dept.s. Manhattan and Topeka ban both.
    Last edited by ehs7554; 03-23-2006 at 07:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainS
    Terrible habit, while I totally agree smoking should not be allowed while on duty or in department facilities, if I want to sit on my back porch drink beer and smoke my brains out so be it.

    very good point

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    We have a rule that you are not supposed to use tobacco products on or off duty. I think it applies to anyone coming on the job after 1994. The ones before that can still smoke on the apparatus floor. As fas as consequences you can pm me if you want to know I would have to look it up in the contract. I have never read that part because I don't smoke.

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    I personally have a problem with a mandate that affects the LEGAL behavior of someone who is off-duty. I admit that I say this as a tobacco user. Just because a group of people have a problem with a behavior, which AGAIN, is legal, gives them no right to single them out. As long as the person is able to function in his/her duties, there should not be any issue. I just don't think I'd quietly stand by and allow things like this to pass without forming up and objecting to it. Hey, that's your right and objecting to it is as much a part of the process as proposing the policy in the first place. That's certainly a lot easier than waiting for it to pass into policy or law and THEN trying to tackle it.

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    Massachusetts Cival Service has this funky thing.. it goes a lil something like this, Any appointed official, after march of 1988, cannot porocure, possess, smoke, chew, any tabacco product. Any findings may result in disciplanary action, pending an investigation upto, and including termination...

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    has anyone ever taken this issue to court. Is it legal?
    Can they mandate what you do on your time?
    What happened to our rights!

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    Here's some things I found from various web searches:
    In that case, a firefighter trainee sued the Oklahoma City Fire Department and city over a rule that prohibited smoking, on and off duty, for one year. The court found that the no-smoking rule had a legitimate purpose in promoting health and safety and did not violate due process. Grusendorf v. City of Oklahoma City, 816 F.2d 539 (10th Cir. 1987).
    Oregon's version of the lifestyle rights law, ORS 659A.315, provides

    "it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to require, as a condition of employment, that any employee or prospective employee refrain from using lawful tobacco products during non-working hours, except when the restriction relates to a bona fide occupational requirement."
    Employers should be careful, however. In 29 states, "lifestyle rights laws" protect workers' off-duty activities, such as smoking, and in some cases, the Americans with Disabilities Act protects addictive behavior. Employers should also weigh off-the-clock monitoring as a business practice. "Good employees with high education and skill levels don't want to be regulated like that," Hornsby says. And as the job market catches fire, such policies could quickly go up in smoke.
    * In Indiana, an employee was fired because she smoked cigarettes in
    her own home. At least 6,000 American companies now attempt to
    regulate off-duty smoking and other private behavior.

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    One More..Hopefully this will help with some of the questions about who has laws to protect smokers..

    To correct the shortcomings of current law, twenty-one states have passed lifestyle discrimination statutes. The majority of these protect only smokers, but a few are broader. Colorado and North Dakota ban discrimination based on any form of legal off-duty behavior.

    A complete list of state lifestyle discrimination statutes:

    Enacted Privacy Legislation 1989 - STATE LANGUAGE
    Virginia Smokers Only
    Oregon Smokers Only
    Tennessee Smokers Only
    Kentucky Smokers Only
    Colorado Legal Activities
    S. Carolina Smokers Only
    Rhode Island Smokers Only
    New Mexico Smokers Only
    North Dakota Legal Activities
    Mississippi Smokers Only
    Indiana Smokers Only
    Oklahoma Smokers Only
    New Hampshire Smokers Only
    Nevada Legal Products
    Maine Smokers Only
    Connecticut Smokers Only
    Arizona Smokers Only
    New Jersey Smokers Only
    Louisiana Smokers Only
    Illinois Legal Products


    New York and Michigan have pending legislation

    Government Employees

    Government employees are protected by equal protection and due process clauses of the federal constitution.

    There are comparable clauses in many state constitutions.

    These constitutional provisions should protect public employees from discrimination based on non-job related criteria. Perhaps for this reason, lifestyle discrimination by public employers is rare.

    The city of North Miami, however, recently adopted an ordinance barring smokers from any municipal employment. The policy has been challenged in court, 8 and the result will shed much light upon the extent to which public employees are already protected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescuepimp
    Massachusetts Cival Service has this funky thing.. it goes a lil something like this, Any appointed official, after march of 1988, cannot porocure, possess, smoke, chew, any tabacco product. Any findings may result in disciplanary action, pending an investigation upto, and including termination...

    Uh, not really. Here's the law. It's just smoking, not chewing(does anybody even do that around here?) and certainly doesn't mention procurement or possesion. It's not a Civil Service (Ch 31) law, either, it's for all MA appointments. Also, the only action cities and towns can take is termination, no progressive discipline allowed. Other than that you were right, though.

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    uhh.. I was off by a few months. lol.. But after reading our sog's thats how I interpt it.. Oh well, i learned something new.. Thatsnks clancy.

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