no smokingExtended unemployment gaps, lack of experience, the thousands of other people applying for vacant positions: job seekers already have numerous obstacles to face and, now, those seeking to join the medical field may have just one more. One employer, Beaumont and Henry Ford health systems, recently announced that beginning Jan. 1, 2013, they will no longer hire job applicants who use tobacco products.

Beaumont and Henry Ford, of the Detroit-Metro area, are joining an increasing number of local and national health care systems that have initiated a no-nicotine hiring policy. The policy is an attempt to reinforce the hospitals’ commitments to good health and wellness.

As a part of the hiring process, all job applicants to Beaumont and Henry Ford will be screened for signs of nicotine. The new screening and nicotine-use ban only applies to new job applicants.

“As health care providers, we have a responsibility to take a leadership role in promoting healthy behaviors – starting with ourselves,” said Beaumont’s President and CEO Gene Michalski.

Henry Ford CEO Nancy Schlichting added that the “health and well-being of our patients, employees and visitors is our top priority. The no-nicotine policy strengthens our commitment as role models for providing a healthy environment for everyone at our facilities.”

Beaumont and Henry Ford are enhancing their existing policies (launched in 2007) that prohibit tobacco use at their facilities. Policies prohibit employees from using tobacco products — including cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes—or smelling of tobacco at any time during their workday. Those who violate these policies can receive disciplinary action, including termination.

Through its myOptimal Health employee wellness program, Beaumont will reward employees and spouses who do not smoke.  Employees (and spouses) participating in a free smoking cessation program with a premium credit on their health insurance contributions will also be awarded.

Do you think this new trend will take hold across a wide number of employers? Do you think this no smoking hiring policy is fair?

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