1. #1
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    Post Tobacco Products

    Our department is currently mandating that all oncoming personal can not use tobaccoo products on or off duty. I am guessing it is for insurance reasons. My Question is. Is it legal. I can understand if they say no tobaccoo on duty. But do they have the right to inforce your right to use tobaccoo off duty. I have no problem with this but some of the guys do. What do you think? All personal hired before this came into affect are grandfathered in. Is there an issue with the fact that some can and some can't? When I say tobacco I mean all means of tobaccoo. This rule is not being followed and I guess I don't blame them. I just don't want to see a good FF get wrote up or worse, Fired because he has a bad habit.

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    Many departments have had that rule for a long time. It is clearly legal. You can decide for yourself it is fair or not.
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    Angry legal tobacco

    If their is a job requirement that must be met to be employed,yea its legal. The trouble that I have, as Vietnam Vet, I fought for freedom(supposedly). I worry that when they start to take one thing that is supposed to be our freedom to do that they will continue to take until nothing is left but what the government wants or dictates. What next, what kind of underwear you can have on? The other prohibition folks will say its not good for you of course but can they tell you what freedoms you can have or not? My health is my buisness if I contaminate it but not if someone else contaminates it. The governement didn't have much to say about Agent Orange at the time did they?

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    In Massachusetts, with the presumptive heart/lung law, anyone hired since the mid 1990's (not quite sure of the exact date) cannot smoke or use tobacco products on or off duty.

    There have been challenges by those who were caught, but their terminations were upheld.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    This is a very common and legal practice. All over Florida, most departments make you sign a statement at the time of application that you have been a non user of tobacco products for 1 year and you will continue to be a nonuser during employment on and off duty.

    As a non smoker, I am all in favor for this rule. I am all for freedom, but this is a safety factor. How can I rely on your physical fitness, when I see you polluting your lungs continuously. It is bad enough the crap we are routinely exposed to just doing our job. Why make it worse.

    It is also a matter of professionalism. Since most of us are dual fire/rescue, how can we preach to our patients when we ourselves do not practice the same. How does it look when the public drives by and there are 3-5 guys outside smoking. Just does not seem right to me.

    Anyways, there is my 2 cents for what its worth.

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    If a city/department can tell you where to live, they can most certainly allow or not allow you to use tobacco products.
    No differance in either case; it's been proven time and time again.

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    Default the fitness card had to be thrown...

    I take exception to the comment that tobacco users cannot be considered as fit as non-users. I am a smokeless tobacco user, as you may have guessed from my defensive attitude. If the fitness card is going to be thrown then we should probably not allow firefighters, especially us older ones, to eat donuts...how can I count on their fat butts on a fire ground?

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    We are not allowed to have donuts at meetings anymore... Chief says only healthy foods are allowed to be served at department meetings.

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    Okay, lets forget about the fitness thing. Lets tackle it from a health insurance reduction for all employees. One way to keep costs down is to require us to be tobacco free. Less chance of adding to our risk factor list. Less out of pocket for rising insurance costs, means a payraise for everyone.

    Cancer is cancer, whether you smoke it, dip it, chew it, snuff it, whatever....

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    I forgot to add that I also support department sponsored fitness programs, whether it be a mandatory or strongly encouraged workout every duty day or something as simple as them reducing or giving away memberships to local gyms.

    King County in Washington has got their stuff together. They offer incentives to all employees who participate in health monitoring, are non users of tobacco, and exercise. Those that participate pay less out of pocket for anything medical and their deductible is lower than those that don't. Its not a mandatory thing, but it puts the responsibility of rising costs with the individual. They choose how they want to live.

    Don't get me wrong, I am no health nut and I am overweight, but we have got to accept responsibility at some point and quit blaming everyone or everthing else.

    Tobacco users are the 1st step.

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    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
    In Massachusetts, with the presumptive heart/lung law, anyone hired since the mid 1990's (not quite sure of the exact date) cannot smoke or use tobacco products on or off duty.

    There have been challenges by those who were caught, but their terminations were upheld.
    We have the same thing here in Fla., except ours states that you cant get your state fire certs (which you dont have to be hired to get) if you use. Ours started in 1989.
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    Default the issue is money

    The Whole reason for this is Money. Did you know that it cost more than 30% more to insure a tobacco user than a non user. That is signifigant amout of money when you consider the average policy per month for non tobacco users is $700 for the kind of coverage that firefighters get. We have just gone through this in our small company and although we did not fire anyone for using tobacco, we told them they were goping to have to contribute to their insurance premium. That meant that if they and their spouse were tobacco users it was going to cost them $300 a month. It was amazing how quickly they all quit. Only one guy has decided that smoking was more important and he has dropped the insurance. He won't ever get it back either.

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    As the others have stated, insurance and presumptive cause clauses are the reason.

    Starting next month, all State of Alabama employees that are tobacco users will pay a $20 monthly surcharge for health insurance.

    So to answer the question. Tobacco restrictions are legal, fairly common, and probably soon to be the norm.

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    Does this mean I should dump my Phillip Morris stock?
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    Okay, lets forget about the fitness thing. Lets tackle it from a health insurance reduction for all employees. One way to keep costs down is to require us to be tobacco free. Less chance of adding to our risk factor list. Less out of pocket for rising insurance costs, means a payraise for everyone.
    Tobacco users are the 1st step
    The next step is "No more coffee" because we all know that it's not healthy to drink.

    Then we should stop the salt intake.No more salt. Do you know how many folks have high blood pressue?The insurance costs are so high.

    Then let's go after the people who engage in risky activities.You know ,skydiving,motorcycle riding, etc...... these people surely get hurt more often than those who don't participate.If they get hurt more , they are raising the cost of our insurance.

    WHERE DOES IT END?

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    AMEN!! Parothead

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    Damn, I actually agree with Parrothead.
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    They all come around sooner or later!

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    i for one think that insurance companies should make ALL the rules. as long as they make insane profits, i don't care what rights i have to sacrifice, like the right to make decisions about what i can do with my body. also, i'd like to give them the right to take samples of my bodily fluids against my will and test them. that way they'll know that i'm not a bad investment. that's what important to me. then i'd like to have someone blow a lot of smoke up *** about how i'll look and act and be more "professional" as i kow-tow to the all-powerful cigar smokers at the top of blue cross and blue sheild.

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