County might not hire smokers

Washington county looking at policy that would require all new employees to be non-smokers in move to cut medical costs

Smokers need not apply.

That phrase could soon be policy in Spokane County, Washington, when it comes to hiring employees for the county.

It is considering adopting a policy that would require new employees to be non-smokers, according to a report in the Spokane Spokesman Review.

“The statistics are there to show that people who use tobacco are typically sick more days a year, and they increase the cost of your medical based on the complications caused by a smoking lifestyle,” said Cathy Malzahn, the county’s HR director.

Employees currently on the county’s payroll could still choose to smoke, but over time there would be fewer smokers, something the county said will save it money.

“Why should I be paying for their habit and their illness because they choose to ignore the surgeon general’s warnings?” said John Roskelley, the county commissioner for Spokane County.

Under the proposed policy, employees who are caught smoking — even off the job — could be fired.

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