Hospital Quits Hiring Smokers, Introduces Nicotine Tests For Medical Workers

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Smokers in the medical field now have another reason to quit as a Pennsylvania hospital has said it will no longer hire smokers and is introducing nicotine tests in order to enforce the rule.

Geisinger Health System's smoke-free health policy will go into effect on Feb. 1, according to KKTV.com.

"Not only do we want to practice what we preach, but we also want our employees to feel healthy, we want our patients and visitors to feel that they are in a healthy environment. So it's an overall commitment to the well-being of all those people," Geisinger spokeswoman Marcy Marshall told the Vancouver Sun.

Those exposed to second hand smoke will be exempt from the test, which screens applicants for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, nicotine patches, nicotine gum and cigars.

For those who fail the test, the hospital says applicants can reapply after six months, KKTV.com reported.

According to CNN, Pennsylvania is among 19 states that allow employers to screen job applicants for signs of smoking.

While there's certainly an incentive to keep employees healthy for work, the economic benefit of having non-smokers on the payroll is also notable. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts a $3,391 price tag on each employee who smokes: $1,760 in lost productivity and $1,623 in excess medical expenditures.

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