1. Kadar, Elizabeth RN

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As a school nurse, I believe that people who smoke and work in the health care industry can't be effective role models ("The Ethics of Denying Smokers Employment in Health Care," Ethical Issues, June). Not hiring people because they smoke may be viewed as discriminatory, but it can also be regarded as a social intervention for a major problem. Corporate policies could send a powerful message-"Smokers need not apply. Quit so we can hire you"-and inspire children to refrain from tobacco use.


Yet, this message alone is not enough. We need to support health programs that encourage people to take care of and respect themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half a million people die each year as a result of tobacco use.1 The Department of Health and Human Services notes that 88% of people begin to smoke before age 18, in the years when neuropathways are developing and vulnerable to habit formation.2


Health programs focused on yoga and meditation could be combined with physical education, health education, and after-school activities to help prevent students from starting to smoke. The calming nature of these practices can address the struggles, such as anxiety and poor self-image, experienced by many children in this age group, helping them to learn how to cope with these uncomfortable feelings that may otherwise lead them to smoke.


Elizabeth Kadar, RN


Pittsfield, MA




1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and tobacco use: tobacco-related mortality. 2014. [Context Link]


2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing tobacco use among youth and young adults: a report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2012. [Context Link]