In addition to the fact that smoking presents specific risks to those living with HIV'including an increased risk of diseases like oral thrush, pneumonia, and emphysema'the dangerous habit can now cost you a job.
From hospitals in Texas to casinos in Ohio, employers are instituting new policies that bar smokers from even being hired. Some companies are using drug tests that pick up traces of nicotine and throwing away the application of anyone who tests positive. The controversial move is riling some employee rights groups, but many health officials say the policies create extra motivation for people to quit, especially job-seekers.
If you're on the job hunt, you may not have a lot of money for nicotine gum or expensive hypnotherapy sessions. Luckily, there are plenty of free resources, including SmokeFree.gov, an easy-to-use site where you can talk to real people (via instant message chats) and get toll-free phone numbers for additional help. The site also has a step-by-step guide that covers everything from getting started on quitting to how to handle urges after you stub out your last butt. The site's best tool, though, may be the section called 'Putting a Stop to Smoky Thinking,' which has a great rebuttal for every excuse you can come up with for continuing to puff, such as 'I deserve a cigarette,' 'I am too grumpy without my cigarettes,' and, of course, the oft-heard 'It's too hard!'