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Should nurses be banned from smoking to help promote anti-smoking campaigns?

Smoking is a choice given to an individual.  The practice of smoking is a practice of the individual freedom or right to have control to one’s body.  Proscribing smoking on the basis of one’s profession as a nurse is a violation of human rights.

While it is ideal and commendable to train nurses to avoid smoking because its practice is absolutely in contrast to the objectives of the nursing profession, which is the promotion of health, banning nurses from smoking altogether is discriminating against nurses.   If smoking would be banned or legally prohibited, it should apply to all people regardless of profession. The banning should not single out a particular group like nurses just because they are engaged in healthcare.

The only logical reason for banning smoking among nurses is to help promote anti smoking campaign.  If that is the line of reasoning, then it follows that nurses should be banned from eating junk food to help promote campaign against obesity or should not be banned from drinking liquor to help promote the campaign against alcoholism.  As shown in this slippery slope, banning smoking among nurses alone would be discriminating and a violation of their human rights.

Finally, smoking is a lifestyle choice.  Truly it is a dangerous vice not only for nurses or health care workers but for all people.  However, smoking does not necessarily reduce a person’s ability to perform one’s professional duties.  Smoking is often used by workers including nurses to relieve the stress related to work.   In any profession, smoking remains tolerable so long as it does not get in the way in the person’s performance of duties.  In the same token, a nurse may be allowed to smoke as long as it does not encumber or obstruct his abilities in performing work as nurse.   Although this may be true, it is nevertheless better for a nurse not to smoke.  Advising a nurse to stop smoking is always good.  However banning a nurse from smoking is a violation of human rights.

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