No-smoking zones reach outside More firms issue controversial rules
In a controversial crackdown, employers are extending no-smoking policies from the workplace to the outdoors.
Some firms bar smoking anywhere on company grounds. Employees must leave the premises or smoke in their cars. Even those who smell of smoke may be asked to leave.
''Some policies may be legitimate,'' says Lewis Maltby of the American Civil Liberties Union. ''But how in the world is an employee smoking in their car going to endanger anybody? There's a big difference between banning smoking and prohibition.''
* Kimball Physics, a maker of electron and ion optics, forbids smoking on company grounds, and no one is allowed inside the building who smells of smoke.
''If someone has a wool suit and walks through a bar, they don't wear that suit into the office,'' says Chuck Crawford, president of the Wilton, N.H.-based firm. ''It's a very strong policy and a selling point for the company.''
* Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria, Ore., has banned smoking on its property, including parking lots. Employees must smoke in their cars or leave the grounds.
* The city of Eugene, Ore., has banned smoking within 10 feet of business entrances under an ordinance that went into effect in July.
* Jack Resnick & Sons, an owner and manager of commercial offices in New York, has banned smoking in front of its buildings.
* The University of Kansas in Lawrence has designated non-smoking entrances into all campus buildings. Stickers on the doors let smokers know where not to stand.
''You don't have to walk through a gantlet of smoke,'' spokesman Todd Cohen says.
* United Parcel Service allows employees to smoke outside only in designated areas.
The outdoor restrictions could affect many: Two-thirds of smokers say they walk outside to smoke, according to a study last year by online career network Vault.com. The crackdowns are part of a broader trend to regulate outdoor smoking. Sebastian, Fla., a town of about 17,000, banned smoking this year in public areas such as ball fields and parks. Friendship Heights, Md., had banned all outside smoking in public places but reversed itself in the wake of public criticism and legal objections.
Employers have a legal right to restrict smoking on the job, according to the American Lung Association, although exceptions may exist in specific collective-bargaining agreements with unions.
''It's part of a growing trend that addresses the whole problem of smoking,'' says John Kirkwood, CEO of the American Lung Association.