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.


(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.


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.


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.


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 (

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  []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.

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.

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: ... snhp&pos=2
© 2013


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!