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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 18:44 GMT
Smoker temp loses job over habit
Smoker Sophie Blinham
Sophie has won support from ASH the anti-smoking group
A woman who got a job as a temp at a Somerset firm has been told by the boss she cannot work for the business as it does not employ smokers.

Sophie Blinham got the job with Dataflow Communications Limited of Wells, through an agency but it lasted just 15 minutes.

"Shocked, I was literally shell-shocked," she said.

Ian Murray from the firm said its policy of only employing non-smokers is well documented.

"I got a call into the office and was told there wasn't a position for me," said Ms Blinham.

The firm has defended its decision.

"We don't want people coming into work smelling of smoke," said Ian Murray.

"We want healthy employees and we believe a non smoker is healthier than a smoker."

Forest, the pro-smoking lobby group said the company was acting within its legal rights.

A spokesperson for Forest said: "If the NHS took a similar view, 15% of doctors and 17% of nurses would be refused employment."

Ms Blinham's case has won support from the anti-smoking group ASH.

"I completely support a ban on smoking in a workplace but not to ban a smoker - that's almost a quarter of the adult population," said ASH's Cecilia Farren.


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