NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — If you smoke, don’t bother applying for a job at Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach.
Starting Jan. 1, the hospital will no longer hire tobacco users.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports applicants will be tested for a nicotine byproduct and sign an agreement to remain tobacco-free throughout their employment. The policy doesn’t apply to volunteers, medical staff or some 700 employees who are already working at the hospital.
“We are in the health care business, and we should be a role model,” Nancy Evolga, executive director of human resources, told The Daytona Beach News-Journal. “There is 50 years of data that says tobacco use is bad.”
In 2009 the hospital became a smoke-free campus. In January 2012, it started charging $25 per paycheck for smokers who elect to take health insurance.
If an employee hired after Jan. 1 tests positive for the nicotine byproduct will be subject to disciplinary action up to termination.
The hospital offers free tobacco-cessation counseling to employees and their families.
“Our mission is to improve the overall health of our Southeast Volusia community, not just treat illness,” Steve Harrell, the hospital’s chief executive officer, explained to The Daytona Beach News-Journal. “Bert Fish Medical Center sets an example for other businesses to improve the health of their workforce by not hiring tobacco users.”
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