Smoking Hazardous to Firefighter's Job

November 1, 2002 ( - A Springfield, Massachusetts firefighter has lost his job for smoking on the job.

He was the first firefighter to be fired under a Massachusetts law prohibiting fire personnel and police officers from smoking, on or off the job, according to the Springfield Union-News.

The Union-News report said that John Marrero, 25, was smoking when a trooper arrested him on July 22 for driving erratically, the Springfield Fire Commission found. He also faces criminal charges of possession of crack cocaine and OxyContin and several motor vehicle violations, according to the Union-News.

Marrero told police he was driving a borrowed car when he was stopped and did not know there were drugs in the vehicle, according to the news report.

He was fired from the department this week, according to the Union-News.

Massachusetts law bars firefighters and police officers from smoking at all whether it is on or off the job. The no-smoking law calls for the firing of any firefighter or police officer hired after January 1, 1988, who is caught smoking tobacco products at any time, the newspaper said.

The law was enacted under a pension reform measure that automatically presumes that heart ailments for police and firefighters are job-related disabilities. The accidental disability pension provides for 72% of a police officer or firefighter’s final salary, annuity, and allowance for dependents – all tax free.