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Prospective employees of Doylestown Hospital, take note: You need to quit smoking if you want a job.

The suburban Philadelphia hospital located in central Bucks County has announced that all individuals hired or applying for jobs after July 1, 2014, cannot actively use tobacco products. 6ABC reports that while the ban on nicotine users does not affect current employees, all future applicants will be tested for nicotine use. Doylestown Hospital “joins a handful of other medical centers in Pennsylvania who also have this policy,” the Action News says, “including Abington Memorial Hospital and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.”

Doylestown has taken the prohibition a step further, though: Hospital spokesman Ron Watson tells PhillyNow that the ban applies to vaporizer users and e-cigarette users, too.

So, if you’re an active nicotine addict of any stripe, you won’t be considered for employment at Doylestown Hospital any longer. These types of actions are likely to affect a good amount of people considering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that Philadelphia has the highest rate of adult smoking among all major cities in the US. Here, the CDC says that 25 percent of adults are nicotine addicts: nearly 10 percent of Philly high school students are addicted to nicotine, too.

Putting aside neoliberal arguments against nuisance measures making nicotine addicts’ lives more difficult, employers in Pennsylvania are within their rights to curtail employees’ smoking. In addition, here in Philadelphia, City Council passed a measure earlier this year banning vaporizer and e-cigarette use in public places and bars, putting the seemingly-safer-but-jury’s-still-out doohickeys on par with traditional rolled tobacco cigarettes. This, naturally, led to a lot of pissed off libertarians acting like Patrick Henry.

Unlike Pennsylvania, 29 states actively protect so-called “smokers’ rights.” Those states, including some of the most tobacco-producing states in the union, sometimes include “anti-discrimination” laws for smokers while ignoring gay people’s rights.

In a tragicomic observation, liberal news and analysis site Vox pointed out recently that more states protect smokers’ rights than protect gay rights. This absurdity is even more obvious given the fact that many states in the anti-gay “Bible Belt” of America protect smokers’, but not queer people’s, rights.

In an uncharacteristic display of principled (maybe?) consistency, Pennsylvania lawmakers protect neither gay rights nor smokers’ rights, likely because they’re too busy going on vacation. This had led to confusion regarding same sex marriage rights in the Commonwealth, including one instance where a venue near Scranton legally refused to marry same sex couples despite gay marriage now being legal.

So there’s that.

Still, it’s probably not a bad idea for nicotine addicts of all stripes to put down the god damned cigarettes or thingamabobs masquerading as a “safe alternative to cigarettes.”

Or don’t. Whatever. We’re not the boss of you.

About The Author

Contributing columnist

Josh Kruger is an award-winning writer and commentator in Philadelphia. His @PhillyWeekly column, “The Uncomfortable Whole,” took the 2014 First Place Spotlight Award for weekly newspaper commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists and the 2014 Second Place Award for weekly newspaper commentary in the United States and Canada from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. He also blogs daily for PW on various topics including queer culture and news, mass transit, politics, crime, drugs, HIV/AIDS, civil liberties, activism, media and everything else Philly.

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