No Smokers Allowed

For smokers in Detroit, it just became a whole lot harder to get a job in healthcare.

That’s because the Detroit Medical Center recently instituted a policy that requires new applicants to submit to tobacco testing. The jobseeker must take a urinalysis test that screens for nicotine. If detected, the application is rejected. However, if the candidate stops smoking, he or she is invited to reapply after 90 days.

Like a growing number of hospitals across the United States who have gone smoke-free, the DMC outlawed smoking on hospital property in 2007. It only made sense, then, that hospitals would eventually begin excluding candidates who are smokers. Doctors and nurses have a difficult enough time trying to convince their patients to quit smoking without having those same smokers see hospital employees smoking or smell tobacco on their clothes and breath.

In Michigan alone, “the DMC joins the Lansing-based Sparrow Health System, the Oakwood Health System in Dearborn and the Crittenton Hospital Medical Center in Rochester to adopt the no-smoking policy for applicants.

Hospitals like DMC know better than anyone the costs of smoking. From medical bills to insurance rates, smokers pay more and so do their employers. It not only is a sound (and unhypocritical) healthcare policy, but it also makes good business sense as well.

And far from making it difficult, hospitals like DMC have seen that the smoking ban has not hampered their ability to find and hire good employees. In this economy, not only is a smoking ban not a deterrent, but it can actually make it easier to narrow the field of candidates and give hospitals and medical centers the ability to hire better employees, more quickly.

Several states have already begun to pass laws against excluding candidates on the basis of their smoking status.

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