The decision by the World Health Organisation to put a total ban on employing smokers is unlikely to catch on in the West Midlands.
And it could open companies up to discrimination claims were they to try, Peter Duff, partner and head of the employment department at law firm, Shoosmiths has warned.
"It is one thing to encourage staff to give up smoking or ban smoking in the workplace, but quite another to employ only non-smokers," he cautioned.
"I would not advocate that most employers opt for such a stringent ban. The WHO's approach is a rare one and there are a number of reasons why it may not be appropriate for other businesses."
As a general rule of thumb, he cautions, any condition or requirement of employment should be relevant to the job in question. Taking this approach will assist in defending any discrimination claims and ensure that employers do not unwittingly treat employees less favourably without justification.
While there may be valid health and safety reasons for banning smoking in the workplace, where passive smoke could damage the health of colleagues, any attempt to control an employ-ee's actions in their own time would not be justifiable in the same way - it could even amount to a breach of their human right to freedom of expression.
Mr Duff said: "The WHO has said it will no longer employ people who smoke in order to reinforce its position at the helm of the global anti-smoking campaign. Its ban will close all its job vacancies to smokers, and existing staff will be encouraged to quit the habit.
"Because of the nature of its role, the WHO might be able to enforce the 'non-smokers only' rule as being relevant to the requirements of the job.
"Like other companies, however, it is not allowed by law to dismiss existing employees on the grounds that they are smokers."
While it is against the law to discriminate against potential employees on the grounds of sex, race, disability or religion, it is not illegal for companies in the private sector to offer positions solely to nonsmokers, although public sector bodies risk breaching the Human Rights Act if they refuse to consider job applications from smokers.
There are other factors for employers to take into account when it comes to hiring smokers, says Mr Dunn.
Statistics show that they take about twice as much sick leave as non-smokers. Fifteen per cent of all fires in industrial premises arise from smoking materials adding to
insurance, cleaning and air conditioning costs in premises where smoking is still allowed.
"Most issues currently are concerned with staff taking excessive smoking breaks, and how employers manage people who leave the building for a quick cigarette. Excessive breaks could amount to unauthorised absence and, if they get out of control, could have a significant impact on productivity and the morale and goodwill of colleagues.
"The way to avoid this is for employers to have clear policies on the time employees take away from their desks and enforce them fairly and consistently."