Non-Smoking Proposal

By: Anna Wagnild
By: Anna Wagnild

The Chippewa Falls Fire Department has proposed adding a new policy that would require all new hires to be non-smokers. But the department wouldn't be the first in the state.
At a meeting last month to discuss joint testing of candidates, Chief Tom Larson says his department received a request from five departments to adopt the policy.
The departments included Rhinelander, where a policy banning smoking on and off the job the job, has been in place since 1991.
Larson says the policy won't affect many new hire candidates.
"I think a lot of them are smoke-free anyway," says Larson. "It's just putting in place a policy that is stated out front. If you're qualified for this job, we're going to expect you not to be a smoker."
The proposal is oppsed by outgoing Chippewa Falls mayor, Doug Sandvick, who calls it an infringement on individuals' rights.
State law (statute 111.35) says it's not discrimination to refuse to hire an applicant for using tobacco, and that cities can tell firefighters they can't smoke.
The city's Police and Fire Commission will review the proposal next month.


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