U.S. hospitals ban smokers instead of smoking

Workplaces are increasingly adopting tobacco-free hiring policies

In the U.S., hospitals and medical businesses are increasingly turning away job applicants based on whether or not they smoke as a move to boost worker productivity, cut healthcare costs and promote healthy living, the New York Times reports. These rules treat cigarettes like an illegal narcotic, warning applicants of “tobacco –free hiring.” They are asked to submit to a urine test for nicotine, and anyone caught smoking might be fired. Even anti-tobacco groups are debating these policies, wondering if they set a precedent of employers placing limits on employees’ private lives. More than half the states have laws against bans on smokers, but even so, businesses are adopting them anyway. For example, hospitals in states including Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas stopped hiring smokers, even though about one in five Americans smoke.

New York Times

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.