Healthcare News & Insights

Smokers need not apply at this hospital

Smokers shouldn’t bother applying for jobs at this hospital. Those who need a nicotine fix are no longer welcome. Saint Francis Medical Center, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, has said that starting January 1, it will test applicants for nicotine as part of its standard pre-employment screening. Anyone testing positive for nicotine (or other drugs) won’t be considered for a position.

The hospital says the policy reflects its belief that health care providers have to walk the talk when it comes to promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Current employees who smoke aren’t affected by the policy, but the hospital will continue to offer them various incentives to quit smoking, as well as tobacco cessation programs.

Saint Francis isn’t the first hospital to institute such a policy, but these policies are still fairly uncommon — and frequently challenged in court. In fact, Missouri law says employers can’t base hiring and firing decisions on an employee’s off-hours use of  alcohol or tobacco. But non-profits like Saint Francis are exempt.

Is the policy fair or not? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. I would be interested to know what they are doing about overweight employees since being overweight produces such a large mix of health problems. I can only assume that the only hire employees who have a good BMI.