One Minnesota woman is claiming that smoking a cigarette in the privacy of her own home cost her a job.
Stephanie Cannon was fired from her job as a receptionist at the Frauenshuh Cancer Center of Park Nicollet Health Services on the grounds that she smelled like smoke at work, KSTP-TV reports. Cannon is a regular, pack-a-day smoker, but she told the local ABC affiliate that she never brought her habit with her to work.
Six weeks into her job, Cannon's boss told her she could no longer show up to work smelling like smoke. Despite efforts to eliminate the smell from her clothing -- which she claims included bagging and spraying her clothing with air freshener before work -- the stench just wouldn't go away, and the hospital let her go.
So called "third-hand smoke," or the residue that remains on smokers' hair and clothing, has been shown to put infants and children that come in contact with it at risk, according to The New York Times.
Cannon isn't the only person to find herself out of a job for smoking in the privacy of her own home. Three EVAC paramedics in Volusia County, Florida, were fired last year after they were found in violation of the county's anti-nicotine policy, The Daytona Beach News-Journal report.
Many employers may not go so far as to fire their workers who smoke, but they can be penalized in other ways. Companies are increasingly requiring that employees who smoke, have high cholesterol or are overweight pay more for their health care, according to The NYT. In Michigan, several hospitals have recently started not offering a job to applicants who smoke or chew tobacco, according to MLive.
Local and state ordinances have made smoking in public places an increasingly rare spectacle too. Twenty-five states have placed a full ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and workplaces, the Orlando Sentinel reports. And 10 more states ban smoking in one of those three locations.
No state, however, bans smoking in the home for private-sector employees and Cannon told KTSP that she's speaking to an attorney. "What I do in my home or outside of work when I'm not punching into that little clock is what my business," she says. "I shouldn't have to be made like I'm a leper."