Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster, Md., has announced that effective Jan. 1, it will no longer hire individuals who use any form of nicotine, according to a hospital news release.
Building a healthier community, educating people about health risks and helping individuals create healthier habits are at the core of what we do as a community hospital, Leslie Simmons, MA, RN, FACHE, president and CEO of Carroll Hospital Center, said in the release. Our new policy regarding no nicotine usage is also the right shift to strengthen the health and wellness of our staff.
In 1998, the hospital center became one of the first facilities in the state to become a smoke- and tobacco-free campus, and in 2010, the hospital was one of the first businesses to participate in the State of Marylands Healthiest Maryland initiative promoting healthy lifestyle practices in the workplace. Prohibiting the use of tobacco products, including those chewed or otherwise consumed, in hospital-owned or leased buildings, properties and vehicles is part of the hospitals ongoing pledge to model healthy behaviors for its communities, according to the release.
Beginning Dec. 1, Carroll Hospital Center and its affiliates will ask anyone applying for a position about their use of any nicotine products including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and any other products containing nicotine. Applicants who indicate they use nicotine products will be directed to information on nicotine use cessation programs and resources, and will be encouraged to apply once they are nicotine free. All other applicants will proceed through the normal application and review process. Following a conditional offer of hire, if a candidate tests positive for nicotine use during the urine drug test, the offer of employment will be rescinded. The candidate will be offered cessation information and resources, including access to cessation products and classes, and encouraged to take advantage of the resources and to reapply in 90 days if nicotine-free.
According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths in the U.S. in 2014. Stopping nicotine use has been proven to provide health benefits and decreases the risk of premature death, according to the release.
Not hiring employees who use nicotine is becoming increasingly common, especially in the healthcare field, according to the release. Hospitals and healthcare systems in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas are among those who have instituted, or plan to institute, such policies, according to the release.
Current employees of Carroll Hospital Center and its affiliates who use nicotine have been encouraged to eliminate their use of nicotine since October 2012 and have been connected with resources to help them quit. Current employees who use nicotine and are on the hospitals health plan have paid a higher premium since Jan. 1 to help offset the cost of increased healthcare. Employees were given 15 months advance notice about the premium surcharge in addition to being provided free resources to support a nicotine-free lifestyle, according to the release.