John (Gold)
John (Gold)

February 21st, 2005, 6:14 am #11

Corporate smokeout
As city considers ban, employers talk tough
By Dana Knight, [url=mailto:dana.knight@indystar.com]dana.knight@indystar.com[/url]
February 20, 2005
Driving a truck for Towne Air Freight is a smoke-free affair. It doesn't matter that truckers are alone on the open highway miles from their Indianapolis branch. If they light up one too many times, they're fired.

Employees at Lowe's Home Improvement stores sneak to their cars to puff on cigarettes -- which are banned not just inside, but on company property outside, including parking lots and cars.

And at CorVasc MD Mickie Montano huddles away from the building to enjoy her smoke, feeling a bit guilty as the doctors and surgeons stride past her.

She is one of six smokers left at the 170-person cardiothoracic and vascular surgical company, which has taken an aggressive approach to helping its workers become smoke-free.

Within weeks, Montano will get a nudge from CorVasc to quit after more than 40 years as the company pays for an intense, one-on-one counseling program, as well as patches and gum.

"It's hard for me because I have that rebellious streak in me," said Montano, an executive secretary who said she is quitting to save money and the lives of her two cats. "That may be what has stopped me from quitting in the past. I've been like, 'What do you mean I can't smoke?' "

As the city of Indianapolis considers a proposal that would ban smoking in restaurants, bars, parks and public places, people such as Montano say it's beginning to feel like home is the only place they can conveniently and shamelessly light up. Nearly 70 percent of the nation's workplaces now are smoke-free, up from 35 percent in 1990, as employers work to reduce the health-care costs associated with smoking.

At least one Indiana lawmaker is interested in restricting smokers' options even more. State Sen. Murray Clark, R-Indianapolis, sponsored two measures this year that would have allowed employers to ban workers from smoking off-duty and let them hire and fire employees based solely on whether they are tobacco users.

Both proposals stalled in a legislative committee over some legislators' concerns that they constitute an invasion of privacy. He plans to try again next year with a proposal that would give employers the right to discriminate strictly when it comes to hiring tobacco users.

"I really don't think smokers should be a protected class," said Clark, who said he is not encouraging employers to fire workers who smoke but does think they should have the right to rein in health care costs.

Indiana is now a smoker's rights state, meaning employers are not allowed to tell workers they can't smoke on their own time.

Employers are allowed to ban it at the workplace and on company time -- and they're doing it. Many more are strongly encouraging workers to kick the habit through incentives and in-depth cessation programs, mainly to eliminate rising health care costs, lost productivity and absenteeism.

"A lot of companies didn't realize how much money goes down the drain when they have smokers," said Malcolm Herring, medical director of the Bridges Nicotine Dependence Services program at CorVasc, which combines nicotine replacement therapy with intense individual counseling and has a 40 percent success rate.

Smoking costs American businesses as much as $125 billion per year, and smokers cost an average of $1,429 more per year than nonsmokers. The average insurance claim of a heavy smoker is $70, compared with $61 for a nonsmoker. The average in-patient stay for a heavy smoker is $700, compared with $575 for a nonsmoker.

Workers who light up take more sick days, have longer hospital stays and take unscheduled leaves that add up to 136 hours of nonproductive paid work time per year, according to Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation.

Health care costs prompted Howard Weyers to take extreme measures. In January, the president of Okemos, Mich.-based Weyco began testing his 200 employees for tobacco use.

Four who refused to take the mandatory Breathalyzer test were fired from the insurance benefits company. The remaining 196 passed. It's a case that prompted a whirlwind of national media coverage.

"I didn't expect that. Our initiative is to get employees healthier. We want to control the cost of health care down the road," said Weyers, who estimates he spends $750,000 a year on employee health premiums.

Weyers has the legal right to fire tobacco-using workers. Indiana employers don't.

"It is fine for an (Indiana) employer to ask an applicant whether he or she smokes, but if that question is asked, the employer should make it clear that smoking on his or her own time is acceptable," said Michael Blickman, a labor and employment attorney with law firm Ice Miller.

But employees should not get greedy about lighting up. They don't have the right to smoke at work, Blickman added.

"We don't allow smoking on our property or in our trucks," said Jerry Scott, vice president of human resources for Towne Air, headquartered in South Bend, Ind. "The image of a trucker with the cigarette hanging out of his mouth, we wanted to get rid of that."

Image and health issues prompted the 1,000- employee air cargo trucking company to become smoke-free. Employees are warned, but if they are found smoking a fourth time, they are terminated, Scott said.

Lowe's implemented a policy more than a year ago that required all of its locations inside and outside to be smoke-free, said spokeswoman Jennifer Smith. The Mooresville, N.C.-based home-improvement retailer gave employees months of advance notice and offered help for them to quit before it implemented the rule.

"Again, we are not telling employees to stop smoking. We are simply saying it is not permitted on our property," said Smith.

Sand Ridge Bank in Schererville, Ind., was a leader in smoke-free initiatives in the early 1990s when it put into place a policy not to hire smokers at all.

Shortly after the adoption of the anti-smoking worker rule, the state legislature enacted the smokers' rights bill and Sand Ridge had to change its hiring practices.

Sand Ridge decided to lead and encourage not through its hiring and firing practices but by offering help, said Guy Staska, vice president of human resources.

The bank began offering cessation classes to employees and their spouses. It also agreed to pay for six months of nicotine replacement therapy (such as the patch) as long as the employee remained nicotine-free for six months more. If not, the worker is required to repay Sand Ridge for the patches.

It hasn't yet banned smoking completely from its property.

"If you want to smoke in the car, I can't stop you from doing that," said Staska. "Well, I guess I can, but we're not going to do that."

Employers, beware

Rebecca Hastings, manager of the information center for the Society of Human Resource Management, warned employers against adopting policies that single workers out because of their lifestyle choices.

If an employee works for the American Cancer Society or as a perfume salesperson, it might make sense to have a ban that covers even off-duty smoking. Otherwise, such a ban seems intrusive, Hastings said.

"We would not recommend that anyone take an action against or single out someone for lifestyle choice," Hastings said. "It usually doesn't work out really well."

Taken to the extreme, such lifestyle policies could end up prohibiting workers from eating junk food or watching too much television, opponents say.

Attorneys such as Blickman said such policies might be legal but could open an employer to a discrimination lawsuit.

Banning illegal drug use, however, is perfectly acceptable because such activity is a crime, HR professionals said.

But testing for cigarette use, even in states where employers are allowed to impose off-duty bans, is a questionable practice, said Steve Wassman, account manager with the Angott Search Group in Detroit.

"I think it's a decidedly gray area," he said. "I think what's wild about it is the proverbial slippery slope. Where could it lead?"
Copyright 2005 IndyStar.com. All rights reserved
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 7th, 2009, 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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smokefreeJD Gold
smokefreeJD Gold

December 24th, 2005, 3:14 am #12

Just a quick message to share a neat sign I saw while I was driving to work this morning.
Like many areas there's new housing developments being born seemingly overnight. One of the jobsites which is heavy into the construction process has a mini sign nailed to the main sign that displays the construction company name.
It reads: "This is a tobacco free construction zone." (Not just smoke free, but tobacco free.)
Now that's something you don't see every day, at least I haven't.
The message couldn't be any more clear: Smokers need not apply!
Jill
Kicking Butt for 3 Years 2 Months+
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Joel
Joel

October 18th, 2006, 11:13 pm #13

With so many companies now a days being smoke free by the employer's choice, not to mention whole states that are banning smoking in worksite establishments that serve the public, being a smoker is likely going to be a greater liability now for anyone in a job seeking mode. Smoking can no longer just be considered an addiction that should be viewed as case of personal suicide, it can now be viewed as a case of professional suicide too. For economic, personal, professional and health reasons the only logical conclusion is to never take another puff! Joel
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Joel
Joel

October 2nd, 2008, 2:27 am #14

With so many companies now a days being smoke free by the employer's choice, not to mention whole states that are banning smoking in worksite establishments that serve the public, being a smoker is likely going to be a greater liability now for anyone in a job seeking mode. Smoking can no longer just be considered an addiction that should be viewed as case of personal suicide, it can now be viewed as a case of professional suicide too. For economic, personal, professional and health reasons the only logical conclusion is to never take another puff!
Joel
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FreedomNicotine
FreedomNicotine

December 10th, 2008, 7:41 pm #15

Joel's Reinforcement Library


Smokers Need Not Apply!


In recent years this message has begun to appear at the end of job descriptions in many different fields. Except for the closing clause, some of these positions seemed perfect for a current smoker. The smoker may feel such hiring practices are discriminatory and feel great resentment toward the prospective employer.

In fact, some companies are now implementing no smoking rules for current employees. Where once the smoker was able to smoke at his or her desk without a hassle, now they must go to designated areas. And in some cases, they may not be able to smoke at all for eight hours a day due to total bans on smoking. Even though an employer may face animosity from such an anti-smoking policy from existing employees, prospective applicants, and even some clients, the practice is gaining popularity in the business community.

Why would management be in favor of such restrictions on smokers? Because a smoking employee is a financial liability. Estimates of the additional costs of an average smoking employee range from several hundred to several thousands of dollars per year. Multiplied by several employees, smoking may end up costing an employer tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Smokers cost more due to increased medical costs, higher insurance premiums, decreased productivity, more illnesses, and more accidents. Besides this, employee morale becomes affected when the second hand smoke issue surfaces. All in all, the economical and logistical burden placed on an employer due to employee smoking is substantial.

It used to be that all a smoker had to worry about were the crippling and deadly effects of smoking. Then the social stigma became a major concern. But now he must also consider the professional ramifications of smoking. After all, if he can't find work, it will become increasingly difficult to afford a several hundred dollar a year addiction to cigarettes.

Being a smoker can limit your potential for physical, mental, social, professional and economic growth. Today, being personally and professionally successful is a difficult venture. All smoking will do is further complicate an already overly complicated situation. Besides this, the physical assault of smoking will affect your health and may eventually cost you your life. Is smoking worth all these risks? If you don't think so then - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!


Joel


© Joel Spitzer 1986, 2000
Page last updated by Joel Spitzer on August 25, 2003


WhyQuit.Com | Joel's Library | [url=mailto:quitsmoking@joelspitzer.com]Email Joel[/url] | Cost of Smoking Index | Next Article
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Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

January 20th, 2010, 1:47 pm #16

Although we each have opinions as to the limits society should be able to go in protecting non-smokers from having to breathe cigarette smoke, Freedom's non-debate policy does not permit such debates here.  As you know, debates tend to divide and polarize groups, exactly the opposite of what's needed if we're going to unite and get behind teaching and supporting the forum's newest arrivals.  Still,  we will continue sharing news of forces being felt by the world's smokers in hopes that none of us will ever want these problems to be ours again.  Still just one rule ... no nicotine today!  John    


Tenn. healthcare system won't hire smokers By danb
Created Jan 19 2010 - 1:02pm
Smokers need not apply at Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Memorial Health Care System. In a controversial move that some call bold and others label as discriminatory, the Southeast's' leading medical system won't hire anyone who uses tobacco or nicotine products.

Beginning Feb. 1, anyone offered a job will be screened for tobacco and nicotine use, on top of tests already conducted for illegal drugs and alcohol, the organization recently announced. If a potential employee tests positive for tobacco or nicotine, his or her job offer will be withdrawn and they won't be able to reapply for six months. The new rule doesn't affect those who already work at Memorial and who use tobacco products. 

Brad Pope, Memorial's vice president for human resources, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that the decision was made "for the health of our community," and said it was a move that should have been expected. 

But Dr. Michael Siegel, a tobacco-control researcher who teaches at the Boston University School of Public Health, compares the move to an employer not hiring based on nutrition and/or exercise habits. "What it's basically saying is the private behavior of people in their own homes is somehow relevant to their qualifications to work in a workplace," Siegel said. 

But some smokers though, including Memorial ICU nurse Mike Sullivan, say the new rule is a good idea. Sullivan hopes to work part-time for the hospital after he retires. "It would be a good incentive to quit," Sullivan said.

On average, smokers cost employers between $2,500 and $4,000 annually for healthcare costs in comparison to nonsmokers, a Tennessee health department official told the Times Free Press.



Internet Story Source Link


Published on FierceHealthcare (http://www.fiercehealthcare.com)

© 2009 FierceMarkets, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

October 19th, 2010, 1:01 am #17

Job Applicant Nicotine Screening
We're increasingly seeing stories about nicotine being included as part of a standard drug screen test for job applicants. While this raises a host of debatable topics that are clearly inappropriate for Freedom (such as discrimination, creation of second class citizens, disability rights, and who is to blame for 90% of adult smokers becoming hooked while children or teens) , these stories may help fuel the determination of some of us to never again have such issues or concerns causing us worry. Just one rule ... no nicotine today! John


Central Pa. hospital system won't hire smokers

The Associated Press - Posted on Sat, Nov. 21, 2009

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Prospective employees at a central Pennsylvania hospital chain will now be tested for nicotine when they apply for jobs.

Beginning Jan. 1, Susquehanna Health System won't be hiring smokers. The system consists of Williamsport, Divine Providence and Muncy Valley hospitals.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health says the system is the first in the state to ban the hiring of smokers.

Susquehanna Health spokeswoman Tracy Witter says all job applicants will have to pass a nicotine screening, in addition to the current drug test.

The policy covers all new hires. An applicant who fails the screening could reapply for a job in 90 days.

An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union in Harrisburg says the policy doesn't raise civil rights issues because tobacco users aren't a protected class.





Story Online Source Link
© 2009 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved
© 2009 PennLive LLC. All Rights Reserved
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FreedomNicotine
FreedomNicotine

November 6th, 2010, 12:39 pm #18

MA Hospital Assn Refusing to Hire Smokers, Will Slash Costs
Growing Trend Goes Well Beyond Health Organizations

Ash.org   Nov. 5, 2010

The Massachusetts Hospital Association [MHA] is the latest in a growing number of business and governmental bodies refusing to hire applicants who smoke - a move which could save them more than $10,000 a year for every nonsmoking person they employ - says Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the organization which has pioneered and promoted the right of companies to slash their costs with such policies.

Insisting upon a smoke-free workforce, similar to a drug-free workforce, is nothing new, and is certainly not restricted to health organizations, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, Executive Director of ASH, nothing that the Alexandria (VA) fire department adopted such a policy more than thirty years ago, and that many governmental bodies likewise have similar rules.

Today, organizations as diverse as Alaska Airlines, the Union Pacific Railroad Company, the Kalamazoo Community College in Michigan, and Weyco, a Michigan- based benefits administration company, have written policies against hiring smokers, and many more companies apparently have unwritten policies against hiring smokers, or simply give great preference to hiring nonsmokers.

Many courts have held that, in the absence of specific laws directed specifically at the issue, it is lawful for compa nies - and both lawful and constitutional for governmental bodies - to refuse to hire smokers. http://ash.org/norighttosmoke

Moreover, although many states have laws purporting to prohibit alleged "discrimination" against smokers in employment, both ASH and the American Medical Association [AMA] have reported that there are many easy ways to get around them.

For example, notes Banzhaf, one company in a state with such a law simply prohibits anyone from setting foot on its property if they have any discernible odor of tobacco smoke on their person. Thus, although a smoker could theoretically be employed there, he would probably have to shower, completely change clothing, shampoo his hair, and brush his teeth after every smoke, suggests Banzhaf.

Other companies simply prohibit smoking anywhere on their property - including even in private cars on parking lots - thereby likewise making it virtually impossible for daily smokers to remain employed

ASH has done a study which shows that a single smoking employee can cost his employer more than $10,000 a year more in health care costs, increased disability payments, time lost from work, decreased productivity, and other expenses - costs which might otherwise have to be paid by the great majority of employees who do not smoke in the form of fewer medical benefits and/or higher health insurance premiums.

In a related development, a recent study shows that smokers tend to waste a hour a day on additional smoking breaks, but that employers are beginning to crack down, either prohibiting such breaks or forcing workers to clock out while smoking on company time.

Companies are increasingly taking a variety of measures to slash the huge and totally unnecessary costs smoking imposes on their businesses, says Banzhaf, noting that almost half of all l arge companies already penalize employees' unhealthy behaviors, and that many more are moving to do so. http://www.disabled-world...harmaceutical/addicti...

It also appears that there is growing public support for penalizing smokers, especially as nonsmokers begin to realize that smoking costs the American economy almost $200 billion a year, and that most of that cost is borne by nonsmokers in the form of higher taxes (e.g., for costs under Medicare and Medicaid) and bloated health insurance premiums. http://www.prlog.org/1072...rows-for-penalizing-e...

Fortunately, the new health care reform legislation permits charging smokers 50% more than nonsmokers for health insurance, a provision ASH helped to insure was part of this legislation. Many companies, as well as about a dozen states, are already doing so.

"There is no legal, moral, or ethical right to smoke, and smokers certainly have no right to force the great majority of Americans who are nonsmokers to bear the huge and totally unnecessary costs of their habit," concludes Banzhaf, who encourages companies and governmental bodies to take steps to prevent this manifest unfairness.
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Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

December 20th, 2010, 1:58 pm #19

Smokers need not apply
Warning: Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your career.
By Brenda J. Buote

Boston Globe Correspondent / December 19, 2010

Under a new policy believed to be the first of its kind for a hospital in Massachusetts, Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport last month began testing prospective employees for nicotine use. Those who fail the screening can forget about a job. The rejected candidates are told to reapply in six months — if they've quit puffing by then. "As a health care facility, we believe it's our right to say we don't want any smoke in our building or on our employees," said Deb Chiaravalloti, spokeswoman for Anna Jaques. "We are taking a stand, saying that if you smoke you cannot work here because we are promoting good health. We want to have as healthy an environment as we can for our employees and patients."

The hospital’s new hiring policy is part of a national trend as a growing number of private companies, citing concerns about the health and productivity of their employees as well as spiraling health insurance costs, strive to influence workers’ personal habits.

Nationwide, roughly 63 percent of companies now offer a cash bonus to employees who complete a health risk questionnaire, up from 35 percent in 2009, and more than half offer incentives for employee participation in health improvement programs, according to a national survey by the consulting firm Hewitt Associates.

At Anna Jaques, employees who voluntarily take and pass four health screenings — for blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, and nicotine — receive a $500 deposit to their health saver account each year they pass the tests; about 47 percent of the hospital’s 1,000-person workforce participates in the program.

As premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance balloon — swell ing 8 percent this year after a 7 percent jump in 2009, according to a national survey conducted by Hewitt Associates in partnership with the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of leading US businesses — companies are trying to influence workers’ behavior with financial incentives and penalties. Often, such initiatives target smokers, in part because of the high cost of treating smoking-related illnesses. A 2006 study by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that smoking deals a $6 billion blow to the Commonwealth’s economy each year in health care costs and lost productivity.

Faced with such sobering statistics, a growing number of companies are imposing higher premiums for smokers or offering incentives for kicking the nicotine habit, according to Susan K. Lessack, a labor and employment law attorney with Pepper Hamilton. Other employers, including Anna Jaques, are going a step farther and eliminating smoke — and sometimes smokers — from the workplace altogether.

Lessack noted two well-publicized examples. Weyco Inc., a Michigan-based medical benefits administrator, grabbed national headlines in 2005 when it issued an ultimatum to the smokers on its payroll: Quit smoking or be fired. And in Wilton, N.H., Kimball Physics, a manufacturer of scientific instruments, gained note in the early 1990s when workers there adopted a ban on the use and possession of tobacco in company buildings and vehicles parked on company premises. The policy goes so far as to ban “tobacco-residuals emitting persons,’’ defined as anyone who has used a tobacco product within the last two hours, from entering a Kimball Physics building.

Here in Massachusetts, the Scotts Co. found itself under a national spotlight in 2006 when Scott Rodrigues, a Bourne smoker, sued the Ohio-based lawn care firm for dismissing him after a drug test found nicotine in his urine, a violation of a company policy forbidding employees from smoking on or off the job. A federal judge dismissed Rodrigues’s lawsuit last year. The case sent a clear signal to Bay State employers: Smokers can be filtered out.

Just last month, the Massachusetts Hospital Association announced that as of Jan. 1, the organization will no longer hire smokers for its 45-person workforce. Association president Lynn Nicholas said the initiative builds on the organization’s existing policy of having a workplace free of tobacco.

“MHA is proud to take this groundbreaking step to promote public health,’’ Nicholas said in a prepared statement. She noted that in Massachusetts, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease; more than 8,000 residents die each year from tobacco-related causes. “We hope more hospitals, health systems. and businesses throughout Massachusetts follow our course.’’

Critics say such hiring policies are too intrusive and could be a slippery slope. If employers screen out smokers, who else might they seek to ban from their workplaces in the future? The morbidly obese? People who engage in perilous hobbies, like hang gliding or scuba diving?

“There is little you do in your private life that does not impact your health. That includes just about everything, right down to your sex life,’’ said Lewis L. Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, a spinoff of the American Civil Liberties Union that strives to ensure employees’ rights. “So once you say it’s OK for your boss to meddle in those areas of your private life that affect your health care costs, you might as well kiss your private life goodbye.’’

According to the ACLU, at least 6,000 American companies attempt to regulate off-duty smoking and other private behaviors. The ACLU characterizes a company’s refusal to hire smokers as “lifestyle discrimination.’’

Thirty states and the District of Columbia have enacted lifestyle antidiscrimination laws that prohibit employers from refusing to hire workers for engaging in legal activities while off-duty and away from the employer’s premises. This includes smoking, drinking, and overeating.

Massachusetts has no such lifestyle statute on the books, according to Barbara Green, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. “Smokers are not considered a protected class,’’ she said. “They are not covered by [civil rights] laws that protect people from discrimination on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, age, gender or disability.’’

Still, legal experts say companies that choose to implement policies banning smokers should tread carefully. Such policies may inadvertently discriminate against certain classes of people. Studies have shown that young women and people of color smoke in disproportionately high numbers. By refusing to hire smokers, employers may unfairly target otherwise protected classes of people.

“Regardless of the motivation, employers need to carefully consider the possible legal implications of adopting policies that target smokers,’’ said Lessack, the labor and employment law attorney.

So far, no one has challenged Anna Jaques’s new hiring policy, which took effect Nov. 18. The policy was implemented in year two of a three-year no-smoking plan championed by the hospital’s board of trustees. Last year, Anna Jaques banned employees from smoking on campus, inspiring a dozen people to successfully complete a smoking cessation program offered by the hospital. Next year, the smoking ban will be expanded to include visitors.

“There is nothing illegal about our decision to implement a nonsmoking hiring policy,’’ said Stephen F. Salvo, vice president of human resources at Anna Jaques. “There are those who may disagree with our decision, but many others who are very supportive of it. The hospital will not implement any policy that illegally discriminates against an individual or protected class.’’
Brenda J. Buote can be reached at [url=mailto:brenda.buote@gmail.com]brenda.buote@gmail.com[/url].

© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.
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Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

April 27th, 2011, 3:13 pm #20

Does Your Résumé Say 'Non-Smoker'?
ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses - April 27, 2011 7:39 AM by Valerie Newitt 

"Smokers Need Not Apply." That sign was theoretically hoisted by the human resources department at St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley one year ago.



The network consists of five hospitals and some 7,000 employees serving 46,000 patients annually. St. Luke's is the second largest employer in that region, so when it implemented a nicotine-free hiring policy, more than a few sparks flew.

Yet no one was more surprised at the pushback than Robert Zimmel, vice president of human resources at the health network and architect of the smoke-free employees ideal.

"We're a health care organization, so it seemed like a reasonable thing to do. We grandfathered existing employees who smoked, so no one lost their job," Zimmel explained. "But going forward, we would only hire non-smokers. I didn't think there would be any reaction at all."

Speaking at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia last week, Zimmel said reactions came swiftly and promptly, beginning with front page headlines the very next day. They were followed by invitations to appear on national news programs. He accepted the opportunity to appear on Shephard Smith's Fox News segment, and was a bit disconcerted by the host's line of questioning.

"What's next? Are you going to ban employees who jump out of planes because they are an insurance risk?" asked Smith.

"I never saw exact statistics on that," retorted Zimmel, "but I know for sure that smoking causes disease."

It's interesting how people throw stones at a health organization seeking to employ healthy individuals. Yet even Zimmel noted that indeed this was not all about health. There were also cost considerations: Statistics show that smokers lose an average of 6 work days a year, almost twice the absenteeism of those who have never smoked, and are twice as likely to be limited in the type and amount of work they can handle. Clearly, the promise of fewer sick days, no smoking breaks, and lower health insurance costs all added up to good fiscal sense.

But there was still more to it than that, said Zimmel -- an underlying philosophy of healing-by-example. "At the end of the day, I feel proud at the decision to go nicotine-free because I knew it was the right thing to do. And I'd do it all over again," said Zimmel. Furthermore, he said the hospital has had absolutely no problem recruiting employees. "There are many quality professionals out there who do not smoke. We have had no problems whatsoever. None."

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Copyright 2011 ©Merion Matters
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Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

November 3rd, 2011, 1:53 pm #21

Providence will stop
hiring nicotine users

TESTING: Prospective employees will be screened for nicotine.
[/size]


By LISA DEMER  ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS


(11/02/11 22:08:50)
Smokers, if you want a job at Alaska's biggest private employer, forget about it. Providence Alaska Medical Center and its affiliates around the state will stop hiring tobacco users as of Nov. 17.

That's when Providence will begin testing prospective employees for nicotine along with illegal drugs.

"We believe that by doing this move, to where we are no longer going to hire tobacco users, that we are sending a very clear message into the community that we are not only the leaders in health care, but we're really the leaders in health," said Tammy Green, director of health management services for Providence Health & Services Alaska.

Providence is not the first big employer in Alaska to make the change. Back in the mid-1980s, Alaska Airlines stopped hiring smokers in states where such bans are allowed, including here.

Providence is latching onto a national trend among hospitals and health care facilities.

"If not us, then who?" said Green, a former state public health official who oversees Providence programs to improve employee health.

Current employees won't have to quit, though Providence hopes the new practice might prod some to do so.

The change in hiring begins at Providence on the day of the Great American Smokeout, the annual event of the American Cancer Society that encourages smokers to quit.



HOW IT WILL WORK

As it stands, about one in five Alaska adults smoke. For Alaska Natives, the number is much higher, especially when smokeless tobacco is included.

As a first step, Providence will weed out job candidates who smoke or otherwise use tobacco if they acknowledge that on their application. They can reapply once they've been tobacco-free for six months, Green said.

Candidates offered jobs already must pass a urine test for illegal drugs; Providence now also will screen for a nicotine byproduct called cotinine.

The hospital system doesn't intend to police employees for tobacco use after they've been hired. So theoretically someone could pick up or resume the habit after they land on the payroll. And a light smoker might be able to cheat the test by staying off cigarettes for a few days beforehand.

Nicotine shows up on the tests whatever the source, be it cigarettes, chewing tobacco or substances intended to help people quit such as nicotine patches and gum.

Providence looked at the experiences of organizations that already only hire people who are tobacco-free, including the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, which stopped hiring smokers in 2007.

Based on what it learned, Providence decided not to hire anyone who tests positive for nicotine, even if they say it's from the nicotine patch or second-hand smoke. People on the patch may still be using tobacco, and the tests aren't likely to be positive from someone only exposed to someone else's smoke, Green said.

Providence also decided to make no exceptions for hard-to-fill jobs such as nursing positions.

The Providence system employs about 4,300 people, mostly in Anchorage but also in other communities including Kodiak, Valdez and Seward.

Its campus is already tobacco-free, as are those of Alaska Regional Hospital and Alaska Native Medical Center. The campus ban on tobacco means employees can't take a smoke break outside on the grounds or even in their own parked car.

When the Native hospital banned tobacco on its campus five years ago -- the first to go that way -- it didn't lose many employees. Instead, the numbers who sought help through its quit-tobacco program skyrocketed, said Gary Ferguson, director of employee health and wellness for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and a leader of the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance.

Health care systems have a higher level of accountability, Ferguson said.

"If you work with patients, if you show up and you've got smoke on your clothing or you've got chew in your mouth, it gives a mixed message to your clients, many of whom who are suffering chronic disease challenges," Ferguson said.

Given that, Providence's new approach makes sense -- "they are putting their money where their mouth is," he said.

The other hospitals don't yet plan to stop hiring smokers, but say they'll be watching the experiment at Providence.



NO NEW SMOKERS

At Alaska Airlines, the practice of not hiring smokers or other tobacco users was put in place about the time that the government banned smoking on domestic flights, said airline spokeswoman Marianne Lindsey.

The company figures it now has fewer smokers than it would otherwise.

"In general, it's known that smokers' health care costs and productivity losses are significantly higher than non-smokers," Lindsey wrote in an email. "Our per employee, per year claims have been lower than the national norms, which yes, we attribute -- at least in some part -- to having fewer smokers."

The program benefits the company -- and the health of its employees, she said.

Still, Alaska Airlines hasn't been able to implement the program nationwide. More than half the states, including Oregon, have laws that prevent employers from refusing to hire people who smoke during off work hours or, more generally, who use legal products.

Alaska has no such law.

Providence executives considered whether the change would be in any way discriminatory and found that it wouldn't be, Green said. The hospital system isn't trying to put tobacco on par with illegal drugs, she said. It's going after a legitimate health issue, she said.

"We know that tobacco use is the No. 1 leading cause of preventable death," Green said.

At any rate, Providence doesn't intend to stop hiring people with other health issues, such as obesity, she said.



HEALTH AND MONEY

At Providence, an executive team vetted the issue for about a year. The group approved the change both to improve employee health, and to save money on health care, Green said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that a smoker costs an employer an extra $3,400 a year on average, according to Andrea Fenaughty, deputy section chief over chronic disease prevention and health promotion in the state Division of Public Health.

Some of that is in direct costs for items such as health insurance, health care claims, and worker's compensation. But there's also lost productivity when the worker is out sick, or taking a smoke break, Fenaughty said.

Dr. Tom Hunt, Providence's physician chief executive, said the health problems are varied.

Most everyone knows the worst that tobacco can bring. Heart disease. Liver disease. Cancers.

Smokers also are more likely to suffer injuries such as cigarette burns, which could prevent a nurse from scrubbing, Hunt said. Diabetics who smoke suffer more complications and have much higher amputation rates than nonsmokers, he said. Smokers suffer more upper respiratory illness. They are more likely to become disabled. And they are more likely to suffer depression, though the reasons for that aren't clear.

"We are trying to build a workforce that is solid and will be with us for years to come," Hunt said. "The healthiest work force we can get will be the one that is going to have the longevity."

Online Source Link 

Copyright © 2011 - The Anchorage Daily News (www.adn.com)
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Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

January 28th, 2012, 12:14 pm #22

While laws in 29 U.S. states forbid employment discrimiation against smokers, if a prospective employer senses the smell of smoke on the person being interviewed, or their pre-employment medical exam reveals either tobacco use or early signs of smoking related disease, what are their odds of landing the job?   This need not ever again be our concern so long as all the world's nicotine stays on the outside!  

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,

John - Gold x12

 

For casino workers, smoking is no dice At Columbus and Toledo sites, Penn National will forbid tobacco use both on and off the job By  [url=mailto:laura.bischoff@coxinc.com]Laura A. Bischoff [/url]


DAYTON DAILY NEWS Friday January 27, 2012 5:17 AM


Job-seekers who smoke, chew tobacco or even use nicotine patches won’t be considered for the 3,200 casino jobs in Toledo and Columbus when Penn National starts filling positions later this year.

Ameet Patel, general manager of the Hollywood Casino Columbus, said applicants who test positive for nicotine will be disqualified, and workers will be subject to random tests during employment.

Penn National’s policy will mean no tobacco use on or off the job for its 3,200 workers, and Ohio’s indoor smoking ban means customers will have to step outside before lighting up.

Penn National is joining the ranks of thousands of companies and hospitals that refuse to hire smokers in the hope of curbing medical costs and encouraging a healthier work force.

Patel, a 22-year veteran of the casino world, called it an unusual if not unprecedented step in an industry where a vast majority of customers are smokers. “It is a very, very big change,” he said.

The Toledo and Columbus casinos will be the only two of Penn’s 21 properties that ban tobacco use among employees, Patel said.

Rock Gaming plans to hire 3,300 workers for casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati. It won’t prohibit workers from using tobacco, but it will give employees and dependents cash incentives to quit, said spokeswoman Jennifer Kulczycki.

Twenty-nine states have passed laws making it illegal to refuse to hire smokers, but Ohio isn’t among them, said Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, a spinoff of the ACLU and an opponent of hiring bans.

Maltby calls smoker hiring bans misguided. “To not hire smokers, you would have to turn down the most qualified applicant 1 out of every 5 times,” Maltby said, noting that nearly 20 percent of American adults smoke cigarettes.

“Turning them down is a loss. ... The savings are very visible. The cost is less visible.”

He added, “When does this stop? There is nothing unique about smoking. Smoking is one of 100 things Americans do that are unhealthy.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19.3 percent of American adults smoke cigarettes, while 22.5 percent of Ohioans do. The CDC says smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in America and attributes 1 in 5 deaths to tobacco use.

Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia do not have statewide smoking bans, and Michigan and Pennsylvania’s bans exempt casinos.

Kulczycki said Rock Gaming isn’t worried that gamblers will shun the Ohio casinos because of the smoking ban.

“We think there are a lot of things that will be attractive to smokers and nonsmokers,” she said.

“There are casinos that are smoke-free, and they’re still open,” said Shelly Kiser of the American Lung Association.

“I’m confident (the Ohio casinos) will do fine. And I’m confident it is what the people of the state want.”




© 2012 The Dispatch Printing Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

November 19th, 2012, 3:04 pm #23

Japanese firm says no smoking if you want a job By Radhika Seth / November 15, 2012 

Japan is a smoker’s nation and a very safe haven for those who like to puff their lungs out to oblivion. Designated kitsuen (smoking) zones offer the comfort of the nicotine kick that many bodies crave. So it comes as a big surprise that there is a company here that is being biased about hiring employees who smoke. Apparently Hoshino Resorts is pretty obvious about their opinion on smokers.

While filling their online application form for employment, a window pops the question: Do you smoke? If you answer in the negative, then it takes you to another window announcing that you are one step closer to your dream job. Perhaps they are taking their objective of ‘rediscovering the beauty of Japan’ a little seriously.

Rewind a bit, if you reply to the smoking question in the affirmative then you are taken to a page where it states that Hoshino Resort Group does not employ smokers. Next they list out the detrimental effects of smoking, for example the workers’ efficiency, the efficiency of facility itself and the overall working environment is compromised. A smoker with nicotine dependence often suffer from lack of concentration when they get withdraws and crave their next smoke. Moreover cigarette breaks are a distraction and reduce the working efficiency of a person. Hoshino Resorts further explain that investment in building designated smoking areas for their employees is not in the best interest for the company. They would much rather use those resources for something constructive.

Although their standpoint seems a bit harsh, you cannot entirely blame them for such views. Especially when what they say is right. So all my smoking friends, either kick the butt or don’t apply at Hoshino Resorts!

[via RocketNews]

Story Source Link  -  © 2012 The Japan Daily Press.
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Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

June 4th, 2013, 3:27 pm #24

Smoking employees cost $6,000
a year more, study finds

By Maggie Fox, Senior Writer, NBC News

Smokers cost their employers nearly $6,000 a year more than staff who don’t smoke, researchers said on Monday in what they say is the first comprehensive look at the issue.

And in what some might see as a dark twist, they’ve taken into account any savings that might come because smokers tend to die younger than non-smokers, drawing less in pension costs.

The findings support a growing trend among employers to not only ban smoking in the workplace, but to refuse to hire smokers in the first place, argues Micah Berman of Ohio State University, who led the study.

“I think it’s certainly relevant to the argument,” says Berman, an expert in public health law.

Many studies have shown that smokers cost the health care system more and that they cost health insurers more. Because many companies self-insure – meaning they pay for health care costs even if a health insurance company manages the benefits for them – that means smokers cost their employers more.

There’s also the lost productivity of workers stepping away for a smoke break – and those breaks take longer as more employers ban smoking anywhere in the office or workplace.

But no one study put all these costs together, Berman says. “I was really surprised to see that there wasn’t any really good study out there,” he said in a telephone interview.

So Berman and colleagues with expertise in economics took a look at as many of the studies as they could find – studies on health care costs and so-called presenteeism – when people are at work but not putting in full effort. They looked at studies that calculated the cost of taking more sick days, and the cost of smoke breaks, and, finally, the costs of benefits of not having to pay pensions to employees who die prematurely.

“Our best estimate of the annual excess cost to employ a smoker is $5,816,” they wrote in the journal Tobacco Control.

They took a conservative approach whenever possible, Berman said, erring on the side of caution.

“Employers try to correct for the idea that smokers cost more by paying them somewhat less. Even when we adjusted for that – smokers still cost more,” he said.

They looked at the lowest possible costs for people taking smoke breaks – just eight minutes a day lost to smoking. That would cost employers $1,641.14 a year, they said. But it’s more likely much higher -- $3,077, they calculated, based on two 15-minute smoke breaks a day. Lost productivity was based on the average wages and benefits paid a smoker working full time: $26.49 an hour, with 232 days worked a year.

Excess healthcare costs of smokers, who have higher rates of lung disease, heart disease, various cancers and other illnesses: $2,055.77.

Berman thought it was important to include the “death benefit”. “Though in some cases this may occur, it could happen only in defined benefit plans,” they wrote.

Most employers now offer 401K plans, which pay out based on the investments in them and not based on an employee’s lifespan. Berman’s team incorporated the death benefit calculation for the 21 percent of employers who still offer defined benefit pensions, and found the total lifetime savings per person was $10,123 for a male smoker and $383 for a woman – lower because women tend to have less money coming in a pension.

A startling part of the calculation was just how much less productive smokers really are. “Though all employees are occasionally unproductive in one way or another, research suggests that smoking status negatively impacts productivity separately and apart from lost work time due to smoking breaks and absenteeism,” Berman’s team wrote.

“This is because nicotine is a powerfully addictive drug. Although cigarettes satisfy a smoker’s need for nicotine, the effect wears off quickly. Within 30 minutes after finishing the last inhalation, the smoker may already be beginning to feel symptoms of both physical and psychological withdrawal. (Much of what smokers perceive as the relaxing and clarifying effect of nicotine is actually relief from their acute withdrawal symptoms.)”’

So-called presenteeism costs $461.92 a year for each employee who smokes, they calculated. Excess absences cost $517.

Many companies have adopted smoke-free workplace policies, and a growing number are also refusing to hire smokers at all. Alaska Airlines is one, says spokeswoman Marianne Lindsey.

“We have had a non-smoking policy within the company since the mid '80s (and we test for nicotine use upon hire) in those states where we are permitted to do so,” Lindsay says. “We also offer a free quit smoking program for employees and dependents who may have started smoking after being hired, or who smoked prior to our non-smoking policies being implemented. We can't make a direct correlation to medical costs, but we do know that there's many intangible benefits to (having) healthier employees.”

There are court challenges to these policies and now 29 states and the District of Columbia have laws specifically barring companies from banning or disciplining smokers, although they may charge them higher health insurance premiums.

Most public health experts advocate a softer approach. “Studies show as smokers have more opportunity to quit, and more resources to quit, they are more successful," says Laurie Whitsel, policy research director for the American Heart Association. She notes that most smokers say they want to quit. “Most smokers take six to nine times to be able to quit a tobacco habit,” Whitsel said in a telephone interview. "It is incredibly addictive.”

Former White House adviser Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and colleagues argued against banning smokers in the New England Journal of Medicine in April. “We believe that employers should consider more constructive approaches than punishing smokers. In hiring decisions, they should focus on whether candidates meet the job requirements; then they should provide genuine support to employees who wish to quit smoking,” wrote Emanuel, a former bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health who is now at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 19 percent of U.S. adults smoke, and that 443,000 people die prematurely every year because of tobacco use. The CDC estimates smoking costs $193 billion in health expenses and lost productivity.

Source link: http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06 ... snhp&pos=2
© 2013 NBCNews.com
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Jojolizzie
Jojolizzie

October 8th, 2015, 10:26 pm #25

Interesting to look back at the older posts in this thread when the anti-smoking movement was just beginning to get a hold. I remember complaining about these non smoking advocates! In retrospect, making smoking in public extremely uncomfortable, if not impossible, has helped me to keep my quit.
Ffwd to 2015 and many employers here in CO not only test for the now legal cannibas, but also nicotine.
I'm glad cigs are not limiting me from applying anywhere anymore!
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