Florida Hospital Turns Away Smoking Applicants
Florida Hospitals, Fish Memorial in Orange City and Waterman in Tavares are the first in the Florida Hospital system to enforce the new policy.
Applicants will undergo a pre-employment drug screening where the test will search for nicotine. Even those using the patch or gum to quit will be disqualified for job placement. Those turned away can reapply six months later. Secondhand smoke doesn’t show a high level of nicotine in the test results and these applicants will not be rejected.
Existing employees who smoke can continue to do so, off campus, though they are encouraged to quit. Florida Hospital believes they should lead by a healthy example. The hospital chain will even extend up to $500 per employee for products and classes under their medical coverage to assist with kicking the habit.
Hospitals across the country are moving away from hiring smokers. Forty-one states currently participate in laws restricting smoking in private work places. The Ohio hospital system for example, has rejected 250 out of 15,000 applicants based on nicotine testing in three years.
Some smokers will argue other avenues such as obesity. Obesity kills more Americans every year than AIDS, all cancers, and all accidents combined according to the American Medical Association. Are applicants eventually going to have to step on the scale only to be turned away for some extra baggage? I believe an overweight person working in a hospital is setting just as bad an example as employing smokers.
In my opinion, you can’t take away a person’s right to smoke. However, you can restrict where they do it. Do I want a nurse reeking of cigarettes to tell me what a bad habit it is? No, but I also don’t want an overweight nurse preaching to me about heart disease if I’m overweight. I’m not a smoker or overweight, but I’d never run to an obese person and grab the food from their hand. So why take a smoker’s food from theirs?