More British firms refusing to hire smokers

"People who smoke smell and that is not acceptable if they are dealing with clients," says director of IT company

“Smokers need not apply.”

More British firms are hanging that sign out when it comes to recruiting, refusing to hire workers who smoke even if no smoking is done during office hours.

According to the London Times, firms have introduced the no hiring policy in an effort to cut down on time lost when smokers head outside for a cigarette and to reduce the amount of refuse outside buildings.

Computer firms, accountants and other professional employers said employees who reek of tobacco can turn off clients and that smokers who promise not to smoke during work hours often don’t hold up their end of the deal.

Lawrence Carter, head of people strategy at Reed, a recruiting firm, said it’s still rare for employers to specify non-smokers but it’s becoming more common.

“This is due to changed public perception and awareness of health issues,” Carter told the Times. “The initiatives in New York and Dublin (to ban smoking in public places) have also had an impact.”

One firm that refuses to hire smokers is Kalamazoo-UCS, a software firm with 400 workers in Birmingham. A job advertisement for a computer programmer on its website states: “Kalamazoo hires non-smokers only.”

Cravenplan Computers, an information technology and website design company in Wiltshire, introduced a ban on smoking employees.

“People who smoke smell and that is not acceptable if they are dealing with clients,” said Chris Stanbury, managing director of Cravenplan. “If someone has been smoking in their car and then they are introduced to a client, it is pretty unpleasant. I also think, generally, people who smoke are less healthy than people who do not.”

Under British law, it is not illegal to refuse to hire someone who is a smoker.

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