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Poll: Public opposes discrimination against smokers, overweight people

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While some may perceive that it remains politically correct to discriminate against those who smoke and are overweight, the latest Gallup poll released today shows strong public opposition to employers discriminating against them in hiring. Gallup asked respondents if they thought it would be okay for companies to refuse to hire people if they smoke, or are overweight, and only 12 percent approve of companies not hiring applicants due to being overweight, and only 14 percent approved of them not hiring smokers for that reason.

At the same time, respondents told Gallup that they find it acceptable if those who smoke and are overweight are charged hire premiums for health insurance. And it is much higher in the instances of smokers, where 58 percent say it's justified to charge them higher premiums were only 39 percent say this is justified with those who are overweight.

Of those surveyed, only 21 percent self-identified as smokers, in that they admitted to having smoked at least one cigarette in the previous week, which Gallup reports is an historical low. Among those respondents in the same survey, Gallup reports that 40 percent identify themselves as either “very” or “somewhat” overweight.

The polling numbers seem to confirm what is widely perceived about Americans, that the percent of us that are non-smokers is growing gradually as more smokers quit the habit, but at the same time we are seeing a higher percentage of us becoming overweight and perhaps more overweight as well. Perhaps the public health campaigns against smoking, and the increased knowledge of the health effects of cigarettes, have lead to more Americans quitting the smoking habit. But many health experts, including Dr. Joseph Mercola, point to our eating habits and food choices as the cause of the increasing percentages of more and more overweight citizens.

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