Public Health Trends

Trend: Hospitals Ban Smokers From Their Ranks

If you’re a smoker and seeking employment at a hospital, the odds are increasing that they won’t consider you. “Tobacco-free hiring” is a rapidly growing trend in the healthcare industry. So, even if smoking doesn’t kill you, it may prevent you from getting your dream job!

According to a recent article in the New York Times, “hospitals in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas, among others, stopped hiring smokers in the last year and more are openly considering the option.” (Source: New York Times, February 10, 2011) The article goes on to point out that “a number of these organizations have justified the new policies as advancing their institutional missions of promoting personal well-being and finding ways to reduce the growth in health care costs.”  After all, shouldn’t hospitals promote good health and take responsibility for reducing healthcare costs within their organizations? According to federal estimates, “employees who smoke cost, on average, $3,391 more a year each for health care and lost productivity.”  When you have thousands of employees, the cost of the smokers in your ranks can become a significant burden and a cost passed on to healthcare consumers.

So what do you think of this trend? Should hospitals be able to refuse to hire smokers, even though smoking tobacco is a legal practice?

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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