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You smoke, don’t apply for a job. You will be screened and turned down.

Yes, it is controversial. A Virginian hospital chain will be instituting a “nicotine-free hiring policy” at the end of this month. If you want a job, you must be nicotine free to get it. The hospitals will screen applicants and say NO to the hire if you smoke or use tobacco products. And this hospital chain is not the only health care institution to implement such a policy. Baylor Health Care Systems will come on board in 2012 and the Cleveland Clinic has already adopted such a policy.

Sounds a bit big brother, but it is perfectly legal. Even though the ACLU has concerns, it too recognizes the right of institutions to implement such a policy.

This new initiative is a step up from the smoke-free campuses offered at many hospitals. Some hospitals see this new direction as an extension of their wellness policies. Tobacco use is linked with cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. We all know that while smoking is not illegal, it is bad for your health.

My question for you is this: Do you see this as an intrusion of private liberty, discrimination and/ or a smart move on the part of health care systems?

 

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